Job Hunting While Employed: 5 Reasons Why It Makes Sense (With Tips on How to Do It)
Question: “Should I be looking for a new job even if I already have one?”
Short answer:“Yes, you definitely should.”
Job hunting, despite being already employed, is nothing new. In fact, people have been doing it for years, and that’s actually considered a very smart move. It’s especially smart when you take into account the recent massive layoffs, company downsizing, and slow job recoveries after a recession that could cause virtually anyone to easily lose their job.
The most obvious reason to always be on the lookout for new opportunities is having a steady stream of income when things take a turn for the worst. For instance, having a backup offer in advance can help to mitigate the risk of unemployment in case of a sudden layoff. But aside from that, there are several other benefits of looking for a new job while working in your current one.
It Makes You More Appealing to Prospective Employers
Many employers tend to favor hiring candidates who are already employed. There are some explanations for this, one of which is the following.
Employers are always on the lookout for the best talent. They know and understand that the best professionals most likely have already been hired by another company. The rationale behind this kind of thinking goes: “This candidate must be great at what they do, as another company has hired and retained him/her for a significant period of time.”
In addition, some hiring managers tend to have a “secret bias” (whether consciously or not) against unemployed job seekers. The situation only gets worse the longer you are out of a job. They tend to think, “If this person is as good as they say they are, how come nobody’s hired them yet?”
It Puts You in a More Favorable Bargaining Position
Looking for a job while still employed also puts you in a more favorable position when it comes to negotiating the terms and conditions of your possible employment. This is especially true when compared to another job candidate who is currently unemployed.
With unemployed candidates, recruiters know that they have the upper hand in a negotiation. The lack of work, the absence of an income, and the pressure to bring food to the table can all make it difficult for the job candidate to bargain for a better offer. However, the opposite is true for the employed job seeker. By showing that they are currently ‘wanted’ or ‘in demand,’ it helps to improve their perceived value to prospective employers.
It Helps You Realize Your Worth and Value
Many professionals often get stuck in low-paying jobs simply because they fail to realize how much their knowledge, skills, and talents are worth in the marketplace. That is very concerning. But what’s even sadder is that many people (around 50% in the USA and in Canada) know that they are being paid less than what they should be making.
And the most concerning part? In Canada, 86% of those who know they are being underpaid choose to do nothing about it.
Making yourself available for job offers can help you realize how much you deserve to be paid. Study the different offers that come your way and you may be surprised at how much prospective employers will be willing to pay you for the perceived value you can give or add to their company.
Keep in mind that this benefit may not always come in the form of a higher salary, but rather in other forms like more flexible working hours, work-from-home options and others.
At the same time, it is important to apply for new jobs anonymously, so you don’t put your current job at risk. Consider using confidential job search platforms like Mirajobs.com.
It Increases Your Awareness for Career Growth
While many professionals struggle with low wages, there are others who grapple with being stuck in a dead-end job in terms of technology, skills and relevant experience. Some may take years before they realize this harsh truth, while for others it strikes them only after a few months of being stuck in their cubicles. In any case, if you feel that you’ve done enough and are ready for the next step, then it’s high-time you consider putting yourself out in the job market.
Looking for a new job while still employed can help you find more rewarding work with a lucrative career path. For instance, if you are a software engineer and have been working as a legacy developer, you may want to consider transitioning into a career as an AI or data scientist. Or if you’ve been stuck as a junior developer for several years now and are having a hard time climbing the corporate ladder in your company, you can start applying for intermediate (or even higher) positions.
It’s Financially Safer
If you wait until you quit or get fired before you start looking for a new job, you are putting yourself at huge financial risk. In many cases, someone who takes this route is forced to live on their savings, which sometimes isn’t much (see point #2), or worse, non-existent. Considering the rate of inflation nowadays, you may find your savings dwindle faster than hoped for.
Remember, there is no assurance that you will get hired immediately after submitting an application. For example, this recruiting benchmark report shows that it takes an average of 38 days before an applicant is officially hired. Another report states that the average time to hire is around 23 days in the USA and 20 days in Canada. Naturally, these averages will become longer during economic downturns, where the expected time to hire can drag on for several months.
Are you willing to take that risk?
Stronger Position in Salary Negotiations
By having a stable income at your current job and using it as your “backup,” you have much stronger bargaining power when it comes to negotiating a salary on a new job offer. Usually, companies have a wide range of salaries for a specific level of professionals. The difference between the bottom and the top may reach 100% in some cases. In other words, the company may be ready to pay $140k but they put as low as $80k in a job offer for an intermediate software engineer. If you have a backup job and you are not under pressure, you may reject the offer and ask for more.
There’s Less Pressure to Accept an Offer
The final reason why you should consider looking for a job even if you already have one is this: you will feel less pressured to accept the first offer that comes your way. Imagine having to go job hunting after you just quit or lost your job. Wouldn’t the need to put food on the table put pressure on you to accept any job offer that comes your way, even if it’s one that you don’t really feel happy about?
Going on a job hunt while you’re still employed releases you from this pressure, because you know that you’re still financially stable while you wait for the perfect job offer to land in your lap.
The lack of pressure also comes with another benefit: it makes you feel more confident during negotiations. Because you currently have a job, it makes prospective employers think that they need you more than you need them; hence, putting you in a better position at the negotiating table.
Things to Remember When JobHunting While Employed
Looking for a new job while you’re still employed can be quite tricky. It can take a stab at your conscience, put you at risk of getting fired, and even tarnish your professional and personal reputation. However, there are things you can do in order to prevent this from happening.
Let Go of that Guilty Feeling
It’s normal to feel a little guilty about looking for a new job while you’re still working for your present company. You may feel that you’re not being loyal, or even biting the hand that feeds you, so to speak. However, you need to realize that you’re not doing this to hurt your boss’ or colleagues’ feelings. You’re doing this for your own professional and personal growth, and that is something you don’t have to apologize for.
In fact, it is perfectly fine for companies to constantly interview candidates to be your new teammates, which some perceive as your competitors. If the company can do that by relying on several workers rather than on a single one, why can’t you do the same and seek “backup” offers in advance?
Know Which Skills and Technologies Are In Demand
Before you start sending out applications, you first need to know what skills and technologies are in demand nowadays. This will give you an idea of whether your skills are better served somewhere else, which is a clear sign that your plan of looking for a new job is indeed the right move to make.
This will also help you realize what you may be lacking in terms of knowledge and skills. Knowing that, you can start working on acquiring or developing the requisite talents that will make you more desirable among prospective employers.
Keep a Finger on the Industry’s Pulse
Going off from number two, keeping an ear on the changes in your industry is a good way of determining where your knowledge and skills are needed. Remember, many industries have a tendency for rapid and sweeping changes, especially in the tech and IT sector.
Maintain Respect for Your Current Employer and Workplace
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when looking for a new job while you’re still employed is using your current company’s resources for your job hunting activities. Thus, aside from not speaking ill of your current employer, do not use the office computer and printer to write and print your resumes. Also, don’t use the office’s internet connections to send out applications or post your profile on various job search platforms.
Even if you are itching to get out of your present workplace, you’ll want to do so properly and respectfully. Maintaining respect for your current boss and colleagues will speak more about your personality and professionalism, and can even make a great impression on your future employer.
Use Anonymous Job Search Platforms
It’s always a good idea to keep your job hunting activities a secret to your colleagues and employer. This is not to mislead them, but merely an effort to reduce any tension that such activity tends to bring. For instance, your employer may harbor ill feelings towards you when they find out about your job hunting activities, thinking that you’re backstabbing them after all the time and effort they spent training you and helping you become what you are today.
This is where anonymous job search platforms like Mirajobs.com can come in and help. With such platforms, you can post your profile and resume online and wait for prospective employers to send you a job offer. And because it’s anonymous, all your personal details are blacked out so your current employer or colleagues won’t know that it’s your profile they’re looking at if they come across it.
Looking for a new job while you’re still employed is indeed a very smart move. Not only will this provide you with a means of protecting your livelihood if things go south with your current employer, but it also opens up the possibility of acquiring a better and more rewarding career.
Share this article with your friends if you believe that the idea of an anonymous job search could help them as well, and don’t forget to create your profile at Mirajobs. It’s free for job seekers, and always will be.
Read more in another article: Why Mirajobs.