How to make time for a job search when you're working full time
Use your free time wisely and be flexible.
Conventional wisdom says it’s easier to find a job when you have a job, but it never says anything about the logistics of doing so. And those logistics can be difficult to sort out.
Looking for a job using your current employer’s time and equipment isn’t a good idea and could get you in trouble, says Stamford, Connecticut-based career coach Jan Yager. Conduct your job search on your free time and be discreet about your search at work — take phone calls on your lunch break and don’t brag to others about what you’re doing.
Here are some more tips on how to make time for a job search when you’re working full time.
Keep busy before and after work
“It's possible to find a job when you have a job if you make optimum use of the time slots of free time that are available to you,” Yager says.
Take advantage of your down time as much as possible. Use the hours before and after work as well as your lunch break to write emails, go to job interviews or research other positions. It can be a challenge to juggle your job search with your full-time job, but many job-seekers are on the hunt even though they’re employed.
Use your time off
If you have personal days or vacation days available to you, consider using one or more of them to do a more intensive job search, Yager says. Taking at least one day off can give you the time to do a job-search blitz by scheduling multiple interviews or making lots of phone calls. Consider scheduling informational meetings with former colleagues from previous jobs who might have a lead or two to share, or friends of friends who are open to talking to you about their company or the industry in general.
Incorporate the search in your day
Look for ways to turn networking events into job searches, says Lisa Chenofsky Singer of Chenofsky Singer & Associates in Millburn, New Jersey. Attend industry meetings, conferences and speaker events, hone your elevator pitch, and look for ways to talk about the value you can bring to an organization.
If you’re asked to interview with a company, see if you can make it a meal meeting, she says. Breakfast or lunch interview meetings aren’t unusual, and can give you a chance to interview outside of work hours.
When you don't have the flexibility or privacy to conduct a job search during business hours, it's important to use other channels to market yourself, says Elmhurst, Ill.-based career coach Elene Cafasso. Ensure your social media profiles are up to date and provide examples, case studies and proof of your abilities. “Inform those you trust that you would be open to other opportunities, but to please keep this information to themselves unless they hear of another opening.”
Don’t let your work hold you back
Employers know many applicants have jobs and are generally very understanding if you need to meet with them outside of regular business hours, Cafasso says. Be honest about your situation and look for ways to work with potential employers to find a solution that works for the two of you.