How to Look for a Job While Still Employed

Looking for a job can feel like a full-time job in itself. Adding it to the mix working full time too, and you can feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to successfully complete both. But there are some tips and tricks you can use to effectively manage your time and look for a job while still employed.

Here’s How to Search for a New Job Without Jeopardizing Your Current One

These following tips will stop you running in to trouble:

1. Don't discuss your job search with your co-workers.

If you want to turn something that was supposed to be a secret into public knowledge, share it with just one other person.

Once someone else knows about it, there is no way to predict how far it will go...perhaps even to your boss's office. To keep your boss from finding out about your job search don't talk about it with anyone at work at all. Even a trusted confidant—not to mention someone who doesn't have the best intentions—can accidentally reveal your plans to another person who in turn can then tell more people. Before long, your boss will know what you are up to. You can't expect other people to guard your secret if you can't keep it to yourself.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile.

A recruiter or a potential employer will check your LinkedIn profile when your resume shows up. Don’t wait until the last minute – update your profile now!

Here are a few things to consider before you jump into editing. First off, consider turning off notifications, so that your profile updates are not broadcast across your network. Second, don’t tag your profile with “looking for a new job” – your employer may be watching. Lastly, keep your listed skills updated and consistent with what you do at your current job. A dramatic change in your online profile, particularly if it does not reflect the position you currently hold, can serve as a tip-off.

3. Be clear about the position you want.

Since you are currently employed, don’t waste your time with opportunities that do not tick the majority of the boxes on your wish list. You can afford to be picky. So be clear and explicit about what you are looking for- whether to you recruiter or in your cover letter or application profile.

4. Get efficient.

One of the most challenging aspects of your situation is that you have a full-time job in addition to your search. How do you find the time to dedicate to the new opportunity while staying focused and productive at work?

The key to looking for a job while employed is to plan ahead and get organized. Update your online profile and resume, and create a great cover letter layout, so that you are not starting from scratch when the search begins. Whether you use a personal organizer or an app, prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and keep an up-to-date calendar to avoid double booking your appointments.

5. Don’t post your resume on job boards.

Nothing kills a discrete job search faster than receiving 15 messages from recruiters, including three voicemails on your work phone. Don’t post your resume on job boards. The best new opportunities come from networking, and the risk of missing a great job on a board is more than offset by assurance that your boss won’t come across your resume online.

6. Connect with recruiters.

By using a recruiter to do most of the legwork of job hunting, you save yourself headaches and wasted time of filling out application after application. Instead, a recruiter will do all the background work that allows you the freedom to worry about interviews and availability, rather than directly applying to positions and spending hours looking for roles that fit your profile. Instead, recruiters can help you apply for multiple positions at once and skip all the tediousness of online job applications.

7. Don't use your work phone, computer, or email.

Consider any equipment that is owned by your boss off-limits when it comes to your job search. That means, never use a company-issued telephone, computer, or email address. Don't even go online through the wifi in your office. There's a good chance your employer could be monitoring your communication in the workplace.

If you have to conduct any business related to your job search while you are at work, use your own mobile phone. Make sure it isn't a company-issued one. Instead of logging into the company wifi, use your own data plan. To send email, only use a personal account. Never give your work email address to communicate with prospective employers.

8. Don’t drop hints.

This advice extends to social media. Some employers monitor Facebook and Twitter accounts of their employees. Even if they don’t, you never know who is connected to whom through the virtual network. Stay away from posting job search-related updates, from the obvious “Wish me luck! Heading into my second interview at ABC company this afternoon!” to a more vague “Something exciting is in the works! I cannot tell you now, but come back next week for an update!”

9. Don't job hunt on your boss's time.

It is very likely you will have to do some job search-related activities during business hours. That's when prospective employers will be at work after all. However, this is when you will also be at work, and your boss will be paying you for your time. How should you handle this? Use any breaks you get during the day to make phone calls and respond to email.

10. Set up your voicemail.

Make it easier for people to reach you by ensuring that your voicemail is set up and that you are checking your messages. It is surprising the amount of people who do not have a voicemail set up on their phone. Always err on the side of ease - if a hiring manager has to hike up a mountain and travel through the shire just to reach you to find out that you’re looking for a different kind of role, you’re wasting everyone’s time and potentially burning a bridge with a recruiter who might have been able to connect you with a role more suited to your expectations.

11.Check your email and return your messages.

Make sure you’re getting back to hiring managers and recruiters in a timely manner. Also regularly check to make sure that you haven’t missed any important messages by checking the spam folder in your email. No matter the method of contact, the hiring process moves quickly, and will not wait for you. Be realistic about the amount of time you can set aside for the job hunting process, and also for the time you set aside to be in contact with those involved in the process. Hiring managers and recruiters will not spend the better part of their day courting you - there is effort on both sides, and as such that needs to be respected by both parties. Being timely in returning calls or emails is a courtesy to all involved.

12. Make job search related phone calls away from the office.

Make all calls related to your job search away from your employer's premises. Even though you are using your own cell phone and data plan and are therefore eliminating the risk of electronic monitoring, someone may eavesdrop on you the old-fashioned way - by listening. Although the break room may seem like a private place, you never know who will walk in on you. Go to your car or take a walk to a nearby coffee shop that isn't frequented by your co-workers.

13. Schedule interviews before or after work, or at lunchtime.

Scheduling job interviews could be a problem for employed job searchers. If you leave the office during the day, your boss will definitely know something is up. Lying and say you have a doctor's appointment is not an excuse that can be relied on regularly.

First, see if the interview can happen after work. If the prospective employer can only interview you during business hours, take a personal day or, if you can schedule several interviews in a week, use vacation time.

14. Be careful about what you wear.

Your boss and co-workers will be suspicious if you show up for work wearing a suit when you normally dress casually. Find somewhere to do a quick change into interview attire. While there aren't any phone booths around these days, the bathroom of a coffee shop close to the interview location will serve the purpose.

15. Don’t sabotage yourself.

All too often, a job search that is meant to be undercover is revealed through self-sabotage. Don’t be that person who checks out from daily responsibilities, or picks fights with a “could not care less” attitude. Stay focused on your work, and keep conflict at bay as much as you can.

16. Do behave with integrity. 

Potential employers are going to want to know why you’re leaving your current job. You can be honest - this job is not a good fit for you professionally; you’re hoping to better your career opportunities - without badmouthing your current employer. Resist the urge to over-share! Behaving with integrity will let a new employer know that you’ll show equal respect to their business if the time comes for you to leave.

Job searching while you’re still employed can be a challenge, but it’s better than having to scramble to find a job - any job - when you lose your current one while still searching. Make sure that you’re prepared for the challenges of job searching while employed before you begin.

17. Use former employers as references.

A new employer who is close to hiring may ask for a job reference. Since you don't want your current boss to know about your activities, you obviously can't ask him. Most prospective employers will be understanding about this.

They are usually satisfied with a reference from a previous employer instead of your current one.

18. Ask your prospective employer to be discreet.

Most hiring managers and recruiters assume that your current employer does not know you're looking for a job while employed. I recommend being clear and specific about your need for discretion. If you are keeping your cards close to your chest, and your recruiter is unwilling to honour that preference, pick another professional to help in your search.

19. Do let your managers know about a new position as soon as possible. 

Sure, employees who have put in their two weeks’ notice in the past have been escorted off the premises without even getting to work their last shift. Still, you don’t want to wait until your last day and then leave your current colleagues scrambling to find a replacement for you. Instead, put in your notice as soon as you can.

20. Don’t act prematurely.

Hope is not a strategy! Take deep breaths, and stay away from doing or saying anything rash just because you had a promising interview. You don’t have a new job until you have received and accepted a job offer and have the signed paperwork. Anything you do or say until then must be carefully considered.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Job Searching while still Employed

“Don’t quit your job until you find another one.” How many times have we all heard this saying? Is this truly the best thing we can advise?  What happens when you have become so unhappy with your current job that you can’t see yourself staying on for even another week?

You might just want to hang in there a bit longer. Here is why: It is much easier to get a job while still employed. One of the most challenging pursuits is searching for a new job when you realize you have had enough of your current one.

Updating your CV/resume and searching for a job typically strikes fear in the heart of those who have existing employment. But doing this, rather than quitting your job is the best decision for several reasons:

  • Recruiters prefer to hire persons who are already working. It gives them more confidence that you will be a good hire. Unfair but, on the whole, true.
  • Leaving a job without finding a new one may lead recruiters to assume that you either quit when things got tough or got fired. Both of which are red flags.
  • While employed you are still able to network with industry people who have first-hand knowledge about job openings. If you quit your job and decide to search from home, you could potentially miss out on opportunities.
  • Finding a new job can be a lengthy process. It usually takes longer than people expect and unless you have money saved, you will start to feel the financial burdens of not having a steady income.

Take extra precautions when deciding to hunt for a new job while still employed. You run the risk of your employer thinking you are dissatisfied or disloyal. This can make things very uncomfortable for both parties and could result in your employer wanting to fire you.  As such, here are a few tips to help you navigate this tricky process:


Choose a good time to job hunt – Lots of opinions are offered about when is actually the best time to search for a job. As you in the hospitality industry you know when the good time to move i.e just after yearly bonus have been paid etc. A bad time to look would be when the industry is at the height of the season.


Check out mentally – Even though you have decided to move on, continue to give your current position the attention and respect required. Your work ethic should remain the same as long as you are still employed.

Discuss your unhappiness with your current job on social media – It may get back to your current employer or a recruiting / hiring manager may see it and consider your lack of discretion very unfavourable. It is best to always exercise decorum and etiquette toward your current employer when searching for a new job, and while I know that will seem obvious, you’d be surprised how people can let things slip.

In other words, searching for a job while employed requires you to tread lightly, be patient, and stay discreet.

They say, “you are only as good as your last performance.” If you want to start your next job in high spirits, you must end your present job with excellent efficiency and quality. 

Happy Job Hunting. If Hospitality Search International can help in any way, get in touch.