90 Day Reboot: Easy Tips to Get a Job While Still Employed

90 Day Reboot: Easy Tips to Get a Job While Still Employed
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 31 October, 2022

You’re happy to have a job. But could you have a better one, or be happier elsewhere? There’s a saying that you should never completely stop looking for job opportunities. But serious job hunting can feel overwhelming, especially on top of your workday grind.

Here’s our suggestion. Put a timeline to your job hunt – say, 90 days or one business quarter. Treat it like any other project: set manageable monthly goals, with a measurable due date. It’s just the thing to stay systematic and keep yourself feeling motivated and making progress.

Here are tips to get a job while employed. Get started on searching for the job, and career, that you really deserve.

Is it okay to apply for a job while employed?

You might feel awkward at first, but it’s perfectly legal. In fact, many recruiters prefer employed applicants: you have experience, and you won’t promise the world just to get hired.

But there are right and wrong ways to do it. Use these simple tips to keep your job hunt fair and above-board.

Use discretion.

In both senses of the word: be quiet, and use good judgment. Don’t put team mates in a spot where they have to lie for you.

Search only on your personal devices.

It’s easy to forget who owns that phone or laptop. But you don’t want job alerts popping up during a presentation, and your employer 100% owns all web searches, messages, and emails on their network. Remember all those corporate scandals exposed by cached IMs, years after?

… On your own time and resources.

Don’t compromise your current job. Print your materials outside the office. If this is impossible, retrieve all extra copies and clear the printer queue. Don’t be that guy in all the office comedies.

Make it your 5 to 9. Schedule smartly, progress daily.

Make your job hunt a second job – with you as a client! Set a nightly routine for emails and research, with extra effort on weekends. Minimize setting calls and checking email during office hours.

Ask potential employers to be discreet.

Most recruiters will assume that your employer doesn’t know. But it doesn’t hurt to clearly request it.

Stay positive.

You may not get the results you want right away. But you don’t give up – and that’s part of what makes you a good hire.

90 Days of Achievable Goals

Month 1 / First 4 weeks / Days 1-30

After a rough day, it‘s satisfying to fire off your resume to a few generic job ads. But a real job search starts with serious thinking and hard work – an investment in your future career.

Week 1: Set your goals for your new job.

As someone already employed, the first question you’ll be asked is “Why are you leaving? What are you looking for?”  Don’t even open your resume until you know the answer. Is it more money, or better hours? Maybe you don’t need to find a new job, just to negotiate a better deal at your current one. Or are you after a fundamental change: a career path or pivot,. expanded skills, etc.? How important are work culture, office location and other factors for you?

Update your resume. Or write a fresh one from scratch.

With these goals in mind, update your resume, different versions for different jobs. Eyeing a change of field? Write yourself an all-new resume, starting with a blank page – like repurposing quality materials into a whole new house.

Week 2: Research your targets.

List companies or industries you’d love to be part of. For your immediate industry, reach out to friends of friends who can tell you how it really is inside. For the dream jobs, sign up for job alerts and read everything you can find while looking for a way in. Put those Olympic-level social media skills to good use!

Week 3: Reach out on social media and your personal networks.

Send PMs to trusted contacts who know and believe in you. Let them know you’re open and looking, or ask for referrals for informational interviews with companies you want to learn more about. Tip: take care to turn off notifications (“XXX has updated their profile”), which can broadcast your job search to the world.

If you’re a few years out of college or grad school, your placement office can help. So can extended family, non-work friends, church or neighborhood. Be brave enough to ask, but always be brief, respectful and mindful that your boss may know them too.

Week 4: Send out your resumes.

This is also the time to get your interview game back to fighting form. Use our Interview Practice Tool to record yourself answering common questions and get tips to improve. Enlist a trusted colleague to play interviewer and give you honest feedback – you may get new ideas on how you present yourself!  If you feel awkward on-camera, now is the time to fix it.

Month 2 /Week 5-8 / Days 31-60

In the first month, you strategized, laid the groundwork, updated your credentials and sent them out. You’ve made your offer to the market; now you’ll know if the market is interested.

Take every interview.

You’ll be getting exploratory inquiries and calls. Respond to them all, even for roles that aren’t your priority. Each one is a chance to sharpen your networking skills, learn how people perceive your resume, and make an impression on HR pros in your field. You might also get negative feedback that may help you improve.

“Why are you looking when you’re still employed?” Be ready with a positive answer.

Tailor your response to each company. Be open about what attracts you, without overly criticizing your current job. To do so is unprofessional, and your words could get back to the wrong people. If things go well, you’ll still need a positive reference letter.

Organize your thoughts and POV.

For a job you really want, write a short analysis of an issue the company is facing, and a few positive suggestions to handle it. You want to show how you approach a problem, and that you’re interested, proactive and insightful. Doing this may also help you ask more targeted questions.

Send thank you notes.

Be brief but genuine. Draft your email or handwritten card ahead so you can reply within 24 hours at most. Find templates for your follow-up emails here.

Some exploratory interviews discuss salary. So be ready. Check out Explore Salary for the upper and lower range for your level and experience. Remember to consider benefits, inflation and a possibly higher tax rate when computing.

Month 3 / Week 9-12 / Days 61-90

Sixty days into your job search, you could be moving to final interviews, or seriously negotiating. But what if you're not getting enough inquiries? What could you still be doing?

One option is to redo your resume to highlight transferable skills. As the name suggests, these are skills that can be used across different industries. These include digital and technical skills, but also “soft skills” like coaching and change management. So even if you’re moving to a different field, your experience still counts – in fact, it’s a plus.

Check out our Transferable Skills Checklist, and you may find that you have plenty to offer another industry. You may not only have a new resume, but also some new potential employers to apply to.

Month 4 / Day 91 onward

Many worthwhile projects take longer than we expect.  Assess, regroup, consider new companies. Ask a mentor for some brutal, big-picture advice. Pause, gather strength, and start again..

But first, back to work.

#SEEKBetterat Jobstreet. Update your profile, and check out job openings. Download the JobStreet app on the App Store and Google Play for easy use on the go.  Finally, bookmark our Career Tools for easy, useful calculators and templates and Career Resources for practical real-world advice.

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