Looking for a Job When You’re Already Employed

Tips on how to look for a job—when you already have one.

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Tim Tyrell-Smith
If you have a job today, you should feel fortunate, confident, and satisfied. After all, it’s a tough job market out there.

But many people who have a job don’t feel any of those three emotions. Even if you’re employed, you might be feeling these emotions:

Worried: Your department’s budget got reduced. Sales are off and there’s rumor of a pending layoff.

Cheated: Your manager failed to deliver on big promises regarding a promotion or new responsibilities for you.

[See 11 Tips for Getting Hired in 2011.]

Nervous: You just got a new job and you already know you made a bad decision.

Unhappy: After five years in a career, you now realize it’s the wrong one, and you feel a strong desire to move elsewhere.

If any of these feelings are powerful enough, you may come to the following conclusion: “I need to quit my job." But quitting isn’t practical for most of us, right?

So how do you look for a job when you already have one? How do you job hunt quietly?

Prepare your marketing materials early. While still on the job, capture the data you need to show your tangible and measurable accomplishments. Create a professional resume and networking bio and share them with a few trusted friends and former co-workers.

Establish target companies. Identify your target companies. Follow them on Twitter and “like” their page on Facebook. Create a list on Twitter of great companies in your city and add them to it. Assuming they’re not competitors of your current company, try to build a relationship through re-tweets and friendly @replies.

[For more career advice, visit U.S. News Careers, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.]

Hire a career coach. Especially if you can find a well-connected coach in your community, let them help you think through a strategic approach and how to execute a smart search. Spend the money wisely while you have it.

Be aware of advertised jobs. Set yourself up on Indeed.com as well as niche sites for your industry, such as CPGJobs if you’re in the packaged goods industry. Use private alerts to learn about newly advertised jobs.

Be easy to find on LinkedIn. Set up a strong profile on LinkedIn update your content there, making sure it’s consistent with what you envision for your career brand. Ask for recommendations from former employers and friendly co-workers. Join new groups.

[See How Job Seekers Can Build Their Online Brand.]

Build up your network. Go to job-search focused networking events. Tell them you’re there to help. And then actually help people connect to your network. Ask to be added to the group’s mailing list; many have Yahoo groups with daily job leads.

Attend industry events. You’ll hear about new companies and potentially those actively hiring. You’ll also learn about new trends and hot issues you can use during job interviews.

Help a recruiter. Be really attentive and helpful when recruiters call. Give them a reason to want to call you again by referring great people to them.

Become a subject matter expert. Through speaking or blogging, build awareness of your brand. You’ll attract opportunities by building social credibility.

What ideas do you have? How do you perform an effective job search when you can’t be obvious?

Tim Tyrell-Smith is founder of Tim's Strategy, a site that helps professionals succeed in job search, career and life strategy. Follow Tim on Twitter, @TimsStrategy, and share his 30 Ideas Book with job-seeking friends.