How To Job Search When You Already Have A Job

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Am I the only one who feels guilty about looking for a new job when I have a perfectly fine one at the moment? What’s worse? I feel even guiltier because I essentially have a guaranteed promotion after I graduate with my Master’s degree this May. Yet every day, sometimes while on my break at work, I’m on job posting sites and browsing company web pages looking for something else. I love my job, too, but it’s only part time and, let’s face it, I need to be a little more independent. I also don’t want to have to wait tables to supplement my measly income.

In the last two months, I have sent out no less than thirty job applications, resumes, and letters of inquiry. Do you know how many have given me an interview? One. And I found that out this morning. Every time I send out an application, the gray cloud of guilt hovers over me for the rest of the day. I’m good at my job, my students love me, and I fit in well at the office. Every time I say I sent out an application, I get “wait, don’t you already have a job that you love?”

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The answer is yes, but like many other entry-level jobs and the like, you don’t want to stay in that position forever. How, then, do you go about looking for a job and asking for references and letters of recommendation without offending those for whom you currently work? Here are some helpful tips and suggestions for looking for a new job while you already have one:

  1. First and foremost, be thankful for the job you have. In this economy, you’re lucky to have a steady job. If you love your job, like I do, there was some kind of divine intervention thing going on. If you’re not thankful for the job you have now, you’re likely to take an offer with the first company that calls you back, and that can be a mistake.
  2. To follow number 1, only take a new job if it’s something you think you’ll enjoy or will make you more financially stable. Why? Because these are good answers to give your boss when you give two weeks’ notice, which leads us to number 3…
  3. If you happen to get another offer, be sure to give at least two weeks’ notice to your supervisor, preferably more. This shows that you have respect for your position and the company, and they’re more likely to give you a respectable and favorable recommendation to your new employer.
  4. Never burn bridges! Don’t trash talk your old job or the salary or your coworkers, because that stuff always comes back to haunt you. You never know who knows who in this world, especially with things like social media!
  5. Back to the “looking” aspect, send out as many applications and resumes as you can, because you never know what might happen! You might not think that you want to work in the city or make a longer commute; APPLY ANYWAY. They might have another division or office that you’d be perfect for!
  6. Don’t outwardly tell people at your office that you’re looking for a new job; it gives the wrong idea 99% of the time. Discussing job applications with coworkers is strictly off-limits! If you’re not sure if you can trust them, chances are they will blab to the supervisor, and when promotion time comes around and you’re still there, you won’t be the one to get it. Don’t give people leverage to use against you!
  7. Along those same lines, DO NOT EVER LOOK UP JOB POSTINGS WHILE AT THE OFFICE. Eavesdroppers are everywhere, and they will rat on you. Golden rule of office etiquette? “Love all, trust few, do wrong to no one” (Shakespeare knows what he’s talking about, guys).
  8. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t hear back from potential employers. Since I graduated nearly two years ago, I’ve sent out probably close to one hundred resumes and applications; only four have contacted me: the job I currently work at, a pyramid-scheme marketing company, a demanding law firm, and the call I got this morning for a phone interview for summer job as a reading specialist. What’s meant to be will be – I know you don’t want to hear that, but I’m going to say it anyway.
  9. Kindly and discreetly talk to your supervisor if you need a recommendation or want to list them as a reference. Do not tell your coworkers! (See #6). Say something to the effect of “I really love working here, and the environment is great, but my career goals are leading me elsewhere, and I’d really appreciate your support. Could I possibly list you as a reference on my resume?” The worst they can say is no; but if you’ve been a dedicated employee, they should understand.
  10. Try to stay at your job for at least one full year before sending out resumes to new potential employers. Leaving before completing a year looks flaky and unprofessional. Also, your supervisor needs a chance to get to know you before you ask for a recommendation. Stick it out, you might find that you actually do like where you are!

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Samantha Glassford

A born-and-raised Jersey girl with a chronic case of wanderlust, Samantha spends her days reading, writing, and planning adventures. She currently teaches classes at the community college while living at home with her parents, trying and failing to become a part of the proverbial real world. Her dream is for someone to pay her for writing and traveling, but in reality she'll probably be teaching forever. Follow her mundane musings on Twitter @SamanthaG2012, and check out her personal blog, wanderlustingmillenial.blog.com

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