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How to Look for a Job When You Have a Job

The best time to look for a new job might be when you're already employed, but that doesn't mean it's easy to manage the process when you already have a full plate. Here's how to find a new gig without getting fired from your old one.

The best time to look for a new job might be when you’re already employed, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to manage the process when you already have a full plate. Here’s how to find a new gig without getting fired from your old one.

looking for work 

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1. Don’t look for work while you’re at work.

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The best and most ethical way to conduct your job search is to do it on your own time, using your own equipment. Don’t look at job searching sites on your work computer, don’t print anything using the office printer, don’t send anything using the office fax. If you don’t break the rules, you can’t get caught.

2. If you must search on the company time, be smart.

Most job searching sites have apps or mobile versions that make it easier to look at listings and research employers on your phone.

3. Understand that looking for a new job can get you fired.

Contrary to popular opinion, in most states, you can be fired just for looking for a new job — or for any reason, or no reason at all. Don’t give the boss an excuse to subject to extra scrutiny your computer use, time management, or performance. That means doing your best work, and being very cautious about your social media use. Don’t update your profiles to indicate that you’re looking.

4. Plan your interviews carefully.

“Schedule your interviews carefully, so you won’t be missed at work,” advises Alison Doyle at About.com’s Job Searching site. “…early or late in the day are easier to explain to your current employer or take personal or vacation time. If you have multiple interviews to schedule, you may be able to do them on the same day.”

5. Don’t use your boss as a reference.

Many employers want a reference from a manager as part of the interview process. Ask if you can use a former boss, ideally at a previous employer. Most will understand that you can’t jeopardize your current position in order to take a gamble on a new offer — and if they don’t, maybe you’ll want to consider whether it makes sense to jump ship, after all.

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What are your tips for looking for work while you’re employed? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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