Do you feel stuck in your current job? Looking for a job while currently employed can be a bit tricky. Oftentimes you don’t want to tip off your current employers that you’re in the market for a new job. And between your current professional and personal commitments, even finding the time to update your resume can be difficult. Six months later, you’re still at your current job daydreaming about another – and you’re no closer to making the big move.

As a Senior Partner for Accounting & Finance recruitment, I’ve worked with dozens of candidates who wanted to find a new job but who were just not sure how to job search, so they never took the first step. They felt frozen! Do you feel the same? Here’s how to start a job search while you’re currently employed:

1. Set a deadline. If you knew that your current paycheck was going to disappear in 30 or 60 days, you’d be pounding the pavement pretty hard for a new job, right? Oftentimes it’s easier to start looking for a job when you’ve got a clear deadline looming. Apply this same logic to your current job search: set a deadline and work backwards by scheduling tasks (e.g., updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, making a list of target companies and hiring managers, attending networking events) into your weekly calendar.

2. Polish your LinkedIn profile. Yes, you’ll need to update your resume as well, but if you’re just starting the search, LinkedIn is even more important. When you meet hiring managers for informational interviews, LinkedIn is the first place these folks will check to learn more about your skills and experience and see which contacts you have in common. Be sure that your LinkedIn profile tells your professional story and quantifies your biggest professional achievements front and center. If you have a stack of business card contacts but neglected to connect with them on LinkedIn, now is the time to do so and grow your network.

3. Get the word out to your network. Networking for a new job while currently employed requires a certain level of finesse, especially if you do not want your employer to know. Schedule one-on-one coffee meetings with key members of your network. Let them know that while your current position has been great, you’d like to improve a specific skill set or that you’re ready to take on a new challenge. Ask if they know anyone at your target companies and could put you in touch for an informational interview.

4. Refine your approach. Sending out 20 resumes without any response is not only disheartening, but it’s a clear sign that something just isn’t clicking. Don’t be afraid to seek advice on how to improve your resume or cover letter. Remember that many of today’s senior management positions are filled without an official job candidacy ever being posted. It’s all about who you know! If you really feel stuck, a professional recruiter within your industry can help get your resume in front of the right people at the right time.

Have you recently switched jobs? I’d love to hear more about what worked – and didn’t work – when it came to starting your job search


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