Five Tips for a Strategic Job Hunt While Employed

Open book with the word "Strategy" printed on it

Passive job hunting (looking for a job when employed) is a bit different than active job hunting (looking for a job when unemployed). Sure, many of the same tenets apply. You need:

But, you need to fit all your efforts into your after-work hours. Considering that it’s been said that job seeking is a full-time job, that really sucks, especially if you have family and loved ones that you’d like to see sometimes or time to, you know, RELAX.

You have to be even more efficient with the activities that you choose to do so that you don’t run yourself ragged from your job and your job hunt. Feeling like you are working two full-time jobs will lead to burnout quickly and will make you less effective at everything you do. How can you keep everything going without losing your mind?

1. Plan, plan, plan! Having a plan is always important to success, but it is especially critical now because you have less time to go off on tangents. You need to clearly define what you want to accomplish during your job search and exactly how that will be executed.

2. Be selective about what you choose to do. Because your time is more limited, you need to pick and choose the activities that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Maybe that will entail belonging to a professional organization and attending the monthly/quarterly meetings, joining an industry group on LinkedIn, taking a class to learn about a new development in your field, or taking on a volunteer opportunity that closely aligns with what you do for your profession. Remember, it’s quality, not quantity.

3. Keep a schedule. One that my family and I have used is Cozi. It’s a free calendar that allows you to identify different family members so you know when Bobby’s piano lesson is or Susie’s soccer practice, and then who is available to take them there. It also has a great grocery list so that you can easily figure out what you need for the week. It also facilitates the scheduling of activities you need to do for your job hunt in a way that still allows for family time.

4. Network all the time. Literally every time that you are out and about, you should be networking — at the gym, at church, at your kids’ activities, in the grocery store. That doesn’t mean you will be doing some sort of slimy me-oriented broadcast of what your needs are. But you never know who you may strike up a conversation with and if a connection will take root in one of those chance meetings. And have a few business cards with you in case the conversation goes particularly well.

5. Remember discretion. This point really underscores all that you do. You have a job, so you want to make sure that your activities don’t put that in jeopardy. For example, say that nice gal you met at the gym is the niece of your company’s HR, or the guy you met at your volunteer gig is the next-door neighbor of your boss’s boss. Before disclosing too much, make sure you know enough about them to ensure that you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot at your current job.

What else would you do during this type of a job hunt?

Image courtesy of Stefan Erschwendner

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