Job-hunting, no matter your situation, is a double-edged sword. If you're out of work, you have time to focus on the search, but your cash flow is compromised. And if you're still employed, you have the stability of a steady paycheck, but no time to find a job. The good news is you can still balance giving your all at work while plotting your next career move.
Here are some tips to assist you in finding a new job while working your current job:
Set up a Schedule
Ideally, you shouldn't be looking on job boards while you're on the clock, so it's important to find the time after hours and on weekends to dedicate to the cause. This can be a strain in your household, as family and personal responsibilities take priority.
Set up one or two specific hours each day where you focus solely on looking for a job. You can set up job alerts or an RSS feed to check all the incoming positions that match your criteria; that way your leads are all in one place.
Have a Plan
So many resources, so little time. Using a job aggregator like Indeed.com or Simply Hired can save time by pulling in posted positions from some of the major job boards, certain niche boards, and corporate company sites. This can help you stay organized and focused with the limited time you have for job hunting.
Set up keyword/hashtag combination searches on Twitter and subscriptions for updates. You could discover jobs that might be posted by individuals or that haven't been picked up through the job-board aggregators.
And don't forget that you'll also need to dedicate a portion of your job-search time to additional research, cover letter and resume preparation, and follow-up. You may spend one day working on your cover letter, one on your resume, and one day following up on jobs for which you've applied.
Have the Tools You Need
Spreadsheets or job-tracking applications are a job-hunter's best friend. Use them to keep track of jobs for which you've applied to reduce application redundancy. This will also help you stay organized and remember details when a hiring manager calls you.
Reserve Time During the Day
While you shouldn't take time out of your work day to hunt for a job, you will need to make yourself available for interviews, both phone and in-person. Most employers understand that being out of the office too much could raise suspicion. You don't want to put your existing job in jeopardy while trying to find another. This means you may have limited availability for interviews, or may prefer them to be conducted over the phone, so let hiring managers know. Schedule in-person interviews as early or late in the regular work day as is possible and reasonable.
Take a Job-Hunt Vacation Day
If you have vacation time racked up, then allocate some time off for focusing on your hunt. Try to schedule multiple job interviews for one day. You can also use this break to network, meet with local business groups, and invite contacts for coffee to discuss job opportunities.
Even if you're sick of your current work environment, you need to keep your job search quiet in the office. If you get caught searching for jobs at work, your employer may either sit you down for a conversation for which you're not ready or begin searching for your replacement. Spending a few hours after work or on the weekends to find your next job will keep you busy. Make sure your friends and family understand you'll have a temporary commitment that will take a significant part of your after-work life.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.