Why Look for a Job When You Already Have One?

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If you're lucky enough to have a job in this economy, looking for a new one sounds just a little bit crazy. While many people continue to stick with jobs that they aren't happy with, worried that changing jobs would be simply asking for trouble, there are several good reasons to begin looking for a new career – even in today's job market.


If you are feeling unmotivated or unchallenged at your current job, it makes sense to look for a new one. In fact, according to an article at BankRate, the number of people who quit their jobs in 2010 – 2011 was higher than the number that lost their jobs through layoffs and downsizing. It seems that lots of people have decided to take the risk and make a change.


The biggest reason given for changing jobs is a lack of growth. If you aren't excited about what you do and you feel that you aren't learning anything new or facing new challenges, you can either wait for the job market to improve – which might take years and in the meantime your career will stagnate – or, you can take your chances and look for something new while you're working.


Looking for a new job when you're already employed is tricky, but handled correctly, it can pay off. Here are some tips to help you get started:


Keep your job search under wraps. Don't mention your job search to your boss or even your coworkers. Even if you think that you can trust them, keep this information to yourself. Gossip spreads through an office like wildfire, and you can't be sure that word that you're looking for a new job won't get back to your boss. If you are asked directly by your supervisor about it – for example if they ask if you are interviewing for a new job or if you're planning to leave – be honest but don't give all the information. All you need to say is that you always keep an eye out for opportunities that might be a good fit but that you have no plans to leave at the present. It's not a lie unless you've already accepted a job offer and are planning on giving your notice.


Don't look for a job while you're at work. The biggest mistake that job seekers make is looking for a job on company time. Don't do it! Many companies have software monitoring programs in place and they will know if you are searching job boards from your office computer or sending out copies of your resume from your work email. In some cases, it can even be considered theft of the company's time and materials. Instead, conduct your search after work, using your personal email address. If you have to leave work in order to attend an interview, use vacation or personal time.


Don't overlook internal opportunities. Finding a new job and new challenges doesn't always mean that you have to leave your company. There may be many internal positions that could be a good fit. Check with your company's human resources department and discuss your options.


Network discretely. Networking is one of the best things you can do to to maximize your job search efforts. However, if you already have a job, don't post anything on a professional networking site like LinkedIn that would make it obvious that you are looking for a new job. You can also adjust your privacy settings to make sure that your activities are kept private. It's easy for your boss or your coworkers to find out you're looking. Instead, network with other professionals but keep any mention of your job search confined to a private email or conversation.


Weigh options carefully before accepting an offer. Before accepting a new job, be sure that it's going to be a good fit for you. There is no point in leaving the job you have in order to take one that will make you just as miserable. Leaving the security of your current job is a huge commitment, so be sure to consider your options very carefully before committing to anything.


Finding a new job when you already have one takes a little bit of additional work, but it can really pay off. There's no point in staying in a job that isn't challenging you. Because you don't have the pressure of being unemployed, you can take your time and find the opportunity that's going to be the best for you.


Have you found a new job while you were still employed? What advice would you give others? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    @SherrieN - Thanks for taking the time to share your story.I think that we've all gotten a little bit too complacent at our jobs before. There have been jobs that I've quit, but kept showing up. When you realize that's where you're at, you have to take a chance and try to find something that will make you excited and provide you with a challenge.
  • SherrieN
    I would like to thank you all for this useful advice and encourage others who are even considering a change to please learn from my mistake, I was in a job that mentally I was over it however financially I was comfortable so I drag my feet knowing in my mind that YES its easier to get a job when you have one because employers want what someone else has already lol and to my dismay/shock/horror my job informed us at the beginning of December they would be closing after Christmas then as I refreshed my cover letter,resume,online profiles & paid off some bills in preparation. the job made the decision to close December 20,2012 so after 7 yrs I am again looking for a new Team to become part of....please don't wait if you are even thinking about a new career summer is coming and some positions will become temporarily unavailable as interns & kids in summer programs fill positions for less than you would require so AGAIN I suggest you get started even reaching out on social media to get some feelers out is a good idea.  Thanks again
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the comments. @Eleanor, many employers prefer to hire people who already have jobs. It's a shame. @Steven B, those are great ideas. I like that you mentioned being honest about your current obligations and making a commitment to respond in a timely manner. It shows that you are loyal and dedicated. @Felicia, what a great idea. If it's possible to go to part time or even take a couple of weeks off, it might be a good way to try out the new job.
  • Jacqueline R
    Jacqueline R
    Excellent advice. Take it from someone who has been downsized and had to start from scratch; it took a year and a half to find a temp job once....Scary especially to a single mother....I only had 3 weeks of unemployment left and was I shaking in my boots when I accepted a job that I never would have considered before with my MBA or monitoring and taking notes of various phone conference calls.  I have since moved up to Admin Assist....still not able to pay student loans, but I'm working and proud of it...
  • Kristi M
    Kristi M
    Very informative and enjoyable.
  • Eleanor E
    Eleanor E
    The best reason to look for a job while you are still employed is because, even in this economy, potential employers will almost always hire someone who is switching jobs as opposed to someone who is unemployed.  There is still prejudice against the unemployed today - and even in the current job market.  Prospective employers instinctively believe that a long-term unemployed individual must have something wrong with him/her or that they're lazy or hiding something.  Again, I speak from experience.
  • Shannon B
    Shannon B
    This article is very informative and helpful. It helps to look at things in a different perspective.
  • Steven B
    Steven B
    I was looking for a job in a different time zone .  I took advantage of that window created by the time difference to communicate with potential employers .  I was honest with interviewers and explained that since I was still employed my availability was limited and informed them of what hours belonged to me .  I also requested that they leave messages and committed to return any correspondence left for me in a timely manner .  Most companies appreciated that I was loyal to my obligations regarding my current employer .  In my opinion how you treat the company that thou are trying to exit gives your future employer a glimpse or your true character along with how they can expect to be treated by you ... By the way I was hired by great company on a Saturday afternoon .
  • LynnAnn M
    LynnAnn M
    Very good information --
  • Tatiana S
    Tatiana S
    Informative article. Good points.to have another job doesn't mean to loose the first one. it can be just a nice edition to you r budget
  • Felicia S
    Felicia S
    I have been emnployed at my current job for 7yrs. I accepted employment elsewhere but decided to change my status from full to part time. Once at the new job i found that the work load was unbearable and the pay was renegotiated...on my first day before training. Wow...needless to say, i quit. My advice is...dont quit ur current job just yet....go part time to see if u fit into the new job....and if so, then and only then should u put in ur two weeks notice. Good luck!
  • George S
    George S
    During a downturn such as this when my work as a geologist becomes almost non-existent, I usually go to work as a security guard, but my employer usually does understand my situation and I can often get a leave for short term work when it comes or they are o.k. if I get something long-term and I give them adequeste notice.
  • Artis H
    Artis H
    Thanks, this is very important information that I needed to know.

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