The time and effort it takes to find a full-time job can easily be a full time job on its own — not to mention keeping the fact that you’re on the search from your current boss. Jaime Petkanics, career advisor and founder of the online job search advice guide The Prepary, shares seven things jobseekers should think about when looking for a new job:
1. Do you really want to leave your current job?
Petkanics says that having one bad day isn’t a sufficient enough reason to start seeking new work. But if one bad day becomes a pattern of bad days, and you’re unable to resolve it, that’s a different story.
“Think about your Sunday afternoon,” she says. “Do you spend your Sunday afternoons dreading the week, or excited about it? Of course you’re not going to look forward to work every single Sunday, but if you feel like you’re truly dreading certain things about it week after week, and you’re unable to change those things, it might be time to start thinking about a change.”
2. Applying should be about quality, not quantity
If you’re pressed for time, be strategic about the jobs you apply to. Only apply to the jobs that really excite you, says Petkanics. Don’t waste time applying to jobs you’re unsure about. You don’t want to go from one mediocre job to another.
“Instead of applying to 100 jobs and waiting to hear back, apply to 10 jobs you really care about and try to network with people at the company and really get your resume seen. Go a little bit deeper on those 10 jobs rather than taking a more shallow approach on 50 jobs.”
3. Make the job search a part of your routine
Treat your quest for a new opportunity the same way you would when you schedule an appointment or meeting: set it, and stick to it.
“If you get into work at 9:00, maybe use 6:30 to 7:30 every day for the job search, and then start the rest of your day,” Petkanics suggests. “You have to dedicate time. How much time and how aggressive you want to be about it is up to you, but schedule it like it’s a meeting and really stick to it, versus just browsing whenever you have a spare moment.”
4. Be cautious when scheduling an interview
You need to show flexibility to the company you’re interviewing with while not arousing the suspicions of your current employer.
Petkanics suggest trying to interview early in the morning or late in the afternoon, if your interviewer is available. “If you’re not able to do that, use your personal days. You may want to schedule your interviews for one day and just take that day as a personal day. At the end of the day I advise people not to lie when possible, because that can end up burning bridges when you do leave the company.”
5. Don’t tell your co-workers you’re interviewing
“You really never know who might repeat information,” Petkanics says, “So it’s best not to tell anybody you work with that you’re interviewing elsewhere, even if you think it’s someone you can trust.”
That goes for any correspondence on your computer too. Don’t allow yourself to email potential employers from your work computer, even from your personal email. Use the time you’ve allotted for yourself to do this.
6. Don’t list your current supervisor as a reference
Unless you’re in a temporary position with a definite end date, never list your boss as a reference.
“The future employer will understand that you do not want your current employer to be contacted since this is often the case.” says Petkanics. “Sometimes there is part of the application where you can say ‘Do not contact my current employer’ but if there’s not, probably the safer thing is to not list your current boss at all. Explain this to the company that you’re interviewing with, that your employer doesn’t know you’re looking, and that’s why they’re not listed on there right now.”
7. Be diplomatic and professional
Petkanics says one of the worst things you can do is speak ill of your current employer in an interview, as it reflects poorly on you as the employee.
Instead, focus your reason for leaving back on the company you’re interviewing with. For example, “Maybe you know this company puts a lot of emphasis on growth and development and that’s something you’re looking for that you’re not getting now,” says Petkanics. Tell the company that you’re looking for other growth opportunities, and you admire that their dedication to their employees’ opportunities for advancement.
“You should give your honest reasons,” Petkanics says, “But make sure you’re being really professional and not throwing anyone under the bus.”
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