Even under the best circumstances, finding a new job isn’t easy. You need to put together the perfect resume, secure awesome recommendations that will make potential employers see that they couldn’t possibly not hire you, and interview with the confidence that there’s no one more qualified for the job.

The situation becomes even more complicated when you throw your existing work schedule in the mix. While it’s often said that it’s easier to get a job when you already have one, that’s not exactly reassuring when you consider the fact that a whole job search somehow has to happen while you’re also trying to do your best work for your current boss. After all, it’s not like you have unlimited hours in a day.

To help ensure that you have the best chances of securing a new dream job while maintaining your professionalism and rock star status at the current one, we consulted with LinkedIn career expert Blair Decembrele. Keep scrolling for her six tips. Happy searching!

Woman at job interview

1. Get clear on what you’re looking for. It’s easy to understand what you might be trying to get away from (AKA your current job), but it can be more difficult to have a firm grasp on what you’re actually looking for in a new position. “It’s important that you first take a step back to identify the reasons you want to leave your current position,” Decembrele says. “Are you looking for more growth opportunities, for a better culture fit, or to make a career pivot to a new industry altogether?” Considering these questions in the context of your existing role might help bring focus to your search.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile. Anyone who’s ever embarked on a job search knows that it can be an all-consuming process, but when you invest in perfecting your LinkedIn page upfront, it becomes one less thing for you to worry about as you continue to check other items off your list. Decembrele suggests adding visuals to your experience section (where applicable, for instance, if you’re a graphic designer) and highlighting aspects of your skills and identity that might live outside the office, such as volunteer work or passion projects. A profile picture can yield you up to 21 times more profile views, so make sure to include an up-to-date, professional-looking shot.

3. Take advantage of your network. Nearly three-quarters of professionals were hired at a company where they had an existing connection, according to Decembrele, so don’t take your network for granted. Reach out to professional and personal connections so you can get in touch with people who can offer you advice as you look for your next opportunity. Networking is important in any job search, but it’s especially crucial that you rally supporters around you when time is limited by your existing work schedule.

4. Reach out to recruiters. Recruiters can be a huge help in managing some of the legwork for you so that you can remain focused on your current role. Ask a trusted colleague if they have any recruiters they can recommend, or turn on LinkedIn’s Open Candidates feature — assuming your profile is up-to-date, of course. This feature will privately signal to recruiters online that you’re open to new jobs, and LinkedIn hides the signal from recruiters at your company or affiliated companies so you don’t need to worry about arousing suspicion.

5. Implement a routine. Perhaps the most challenging part of engaging in a job search while you’re currently employed is maintaining the motivation to look for your next gig after a long day at the office. Decembrele recommends that you establish some specific routines to keep your job and your potential new job separate. Start by setting aside 20 minutes each day for job-hunt-related activities. Scroll job openings while you wait for dinner to cook, or send outreach emails as soon as you get home from the office. If you’re not finding success right away, you can always add time and change up the routine as needed.

6. Stay professional at the office. “No matter where you are in your job hunt, it’s important that you’re always putting your most professional foot forward,” Decembrele says. “You never want to burn a bridge. People in your current company can play a vital role in your job search by helping to connect you to contacts in your industry and serving as key references for your next role.” Keep your cool at work now so that people will be more likely to support you in your transition to a new opportunity.

How do you handle a job search when you’re currently employed? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)