While employed, you’re constantly interacting with your contacts who might be aware of job opportunities in your industry that you might not. Take advantage of this. Otherwise, out of sight, out of mind; chances are, if you’re unemployed, you won’t be top of mind with your peers and potential employers.
Companies want to hire the cream of the crop and those are people who already have jobs. Potential employers prefer candidates who are employed as this gives them confidence that they will be good hires. As a job seeker who is currently employed, you will be approaching potential employers from a position of strength when you go for interviews. Quitting your job before you get another one raises a lot of questions with potential employers and puts you in a defensive position.
Most employees start working on an exit strategy once they are hired. They set career goals and work out how long it will take to achieve them. If you’re such an employee, then you’ll know when it’s time to start looking for another job. Doing so while still employed doesn’t put so much pressure on you as you’ll still have your current job to fall back on, and this lessens the pressure of job-hunting. If you don’t get one at your first attempt, you can just try again.
Also, having a job while you look for another one gives you confidence as you’re not in a desperate situation. Yes, you may need a new job, but unlike someone who is out of work, you do not have to have a new job.
There are certain things, such as salary expectations and overtime pay, that leave potential employees tongue-tied during interviews. A company’s bottom line is always to ensure that it makes profit. You should also have a clear bottom line. Is it room for growth? A boss you can get along with? Be clear about what is most important to you. When you’re still employed, you’ll discuss these with more confidence as you’re in a position to make demands when negotiating the terms of your new gig. You current job provides you with leverage that goes out the window if you were unemployed.
This is an advantage that you’ll have over someone who is unemployed. Beginning your job search while you’re still employed gives you room to be picky whereas an unemployed person might grab the first gig that comes their way.
Tread carefully. Your current employer won’t be gracious if you are found out
There are risks that come with job-hunting while you’re still employed. Tread carefully as this might cost you your current job when someone in your company finds out.
Employers don’t take well to finding out that employees are working on exit strategies. They’ll see this as lack of loyalty. Also, your manager wants someone who is committed to the job and not the job search, so this might lead to your termination.
Don’t let your job search affect your work. Putting too much focus on the job search will impact your professional credibility. If your current employer notices that you’ve started lagging, they might take you off any major projects. This might affect your confidence and your networking capabilities at the time that you need them most.
You might be seen as a security threat by your employer, especially if the new job you’re seeking is with a major competitor. Ethical and legal issues may also arise due to conflict of interest.
While job-hunting and you realise that you have a great job and that you’re happy at your current company, it’s OK to be less aggressive. But don’t completely stop looking for employment opportunities.