How to successfully job hunt while working full-time

Written by Amy Beecham

Looking for a new career opportunity but don’t want to cut ties with your old job just yet? 4 experts share their tips on how to search for a job while working full-time.

You’re feeling stuck in your current role, you’ve toyed with the idea for a while and you’ve finally decided you want to leave your job. Now what? The initial excitement is quickly replaced by blind panic about where to begin, the state of your CV and whether you even remember your LinkedIn password, let alone when you’ll find time to actually look for something new.

Hunting for a job while working full-time is an undeniably tricky balance. What’s the right way to let your network know you’re open to new opportunities without alerting your employer? How can you take time off for interviews while still remaining present at work. We asked four experts for their best advice on securing a new job without jeopardising your old one. This is what they said.

Know what you want from a new job

Your head may be swimming with ideas and potential opportunities right now, but it’s important to get clear on some parameters for the new role to narrow down your search. “That could mean defining the industry you want to work in, the level you want to be working at, the potential salary you want to achieve, or the location of the work,” explains Jessica Timelin, senior operating director at recruitment agency Michael Page. “Being clear on these details will help to streamline the opportunities available to you.”

Keep your LinkedIn information up to date

“Your LinkedIn profile is very important and acts as an online CV, so having up-to-date information is the most valuable thing you can do to give your job search a helping hand,” Timelin adds.

“Most potential employers will look you up online and use your LinkedIn profile to assess whether to take your application forward. You will still need to submit a CV as part of your job application, but an updated profile allows you to add more personality and demonstrate your experience. Plus, keeping it updated on a regular basis feels like less of a task than rewriting your CV.”

Optimise your CV

It goes without saying: your CV is the ultimate representation of your professional self. “On average, an employer will look at someone’s CV for seven seconds before deciding whether to continue reviewing it or rejecting it,” explains James Reed, chairman of “Time spent job-searching while in a full-time role can be limiting, so to maximise efficiency, make sure your CV is as concise yet comprehensive as possible.”

Set up helpful alerts

“While you’re working full-time it can be difficult to be constantly searching and staying up to date with the jobs that are available,” says Robbie Bryant, a career expert at Open Study College. Save yourself the hours of scrolling and spend some time setting up job alerts so they get delivered directly to your email or phone.

Ask the right questions

We know that taking time away from work to go to an interview can be difficult, especially if you have been offered multiple interviews. However, Bryant says that it’s always worth requesting a quick telephone call with either the company or the recruiter to ask any questions that are essential to you. Not only will you get a good feel for the company ahead of meeting face-to-face, you’ll also ensure that you don’t waste any time applying for a role that’s not right for you.

Nurture your connections

According to Sarah Markham, workplace culture expert and founder of Calm In A Box, the biggest opportunities can often lie at the edges of our network. These can be known as ‘weak ties’, and she suggests starting to leverage these by reconnecting with one old contact per week. 

Remember to take breaks

It can be extremely tempting to throw every waking moment into your search. However, Markham argues, it’s equally important to conserve your energy and set aside space and time each week when you’re neither working nor job hunting. “You’ll end up having more energy to focus when you return,” she adds.

Chunk your time

Similarly, don’t let yourself get consumed or overwhelmed by trying to work and job hunt. “Break the task down into small steps – just do one small thing each day that moves your job hunt forward,” says Markham. “If this gets overwhelming, make it once per week. Progress comes from small, consistent steps which will keep moving you forward to where you want to be.”

Images: Getty

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