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How to balance your job search with a full-time role

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

As the new year begins, more than half of UK workers are considering searching for a different role. According to a survey by Investors in People, nearly a quarter of these have already started looking. However, hunting for a new position is almost a full-time job in itself, and can be difficult when you’re already working 9-to-5. There’s no knowing when you’ll receive an interview offer, so until then, it’s important to stay motivated within your current team.

Don’t search for jobs at work

It’s never easy telling your boss that you want to move on. To make sure that this happens at the right moment – when you’re able to formally hand in your notice – you should remain committed in the office. Never spend time checking job adverts or answering calls from recruiters on company time. Not only will this appear suspicious, but a dip in productivity can make it difficult to leave on a positive note with a good reference. While it can be tempting to drop hints to colleagues, always remain professional. When you’re working you may hear about new roles from your contacts. However, try to follow these up in your own time. Be prepared to dedicate your evenings and weekends to the job search.

Schedule interviews discretely

Attending interviews is often tricky. How do you find the hours to attend meetings without alerting your manager? And how should you respond if your request for leave in order to attend an interview is refused? While it can be tempting to call in sick, there are other ways around this challenge. Many recruiters are understanding of work commitments and demonstrating loyalty to your current company is no bad thing. Always ask recruiters and prospective Employers to be discreet. Requesting phone or video interviews in the first instance will allow you to use your time wisely. You can also try scheduling meetings before or after work. Above all, don’t get stressed. If you’re really struggling to make an interview date, call your contact to explain as there may be some flexibility in this.

Prioritise your efforts

When you have limited hours, you should remain focused. It can be tempting to apply for anything that comes your way, but if you rush a job application, you’re less likely to be successful. If you’re only able to apply for one role per week, pick the best fit for you. Job boards often contain hundreds of different adverts, so spend a moment writing down your career aspirations, as well as your skills and experience. If you do this, you’ll avoid getting side-tracked once you begin your search. Always be selective about requests to meet. While face-to-face conversations can be incredibly informative, don’t be afraid to say no to an offer if you feel it’s not the right opportunity. Working with a recruiter, and listening to their professional advice, will make it clear which interviews should come top of the list.

Increase time spent on networking

Don’t underestimate the importance of your network. It’s thought that 60 per cent of jobs are found through connections with family, friends and business contacts. The best thing about networking is that it’ll be helpful in your current role, as well as your job hunt. Attending an event after work – in order to raise your profile – is unlikely to attract suspicion from colleagues. Online networking is also a great way to meet recruiters. Start by updating your LinkedIn profile, making sure that it shows your latest accomplishments. Once you’re confident that you appear polished and professional, start connecting with people at companies you’re interested in working for.

Stay focused in your current role

When you’re searching for a job, you may feel distracted from your work. To counteract this, why not set yourself some new targets?  Remember that a fruitful job hunt relies on your success within your current workplace – by continuing to improve on your skills and experience you’re more likely to impress prospective Employers. While talented Candidates are often in demand, it can take time to find a position in a company which fits your criteria. Filling out applications and attending interviews can be tiring, so make sure that you manage this. Find a balance between working and resting so that you can perform better in the office and in your job search.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.

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