May 20, 2018

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How to Look for a Job When You Already Have One

The #1 reason people change jobs is not money. Feeling under-appreciated in a job that lacks any personal satisfaction is what motivates most people to move on. You'll spend about 11,000 days working over your lifetime, and I believe they should be rewarding and happy ones in which you are paid what you are worth. Contrary to public opinion -- you cannot compartmentalize your life. Your career, your family, your hobbies, even your socializing, all impact your well-being interconnectively. So if you're unhappy at work those feelings spill over into your home life too.

If I'm describing you, recognize that you are not alone. Many of my career counseling clients are in the same boat. I have seen dozens of clients in the last few months who were employed, but they wanted more -- and they got it.

Julie had been a program manager for a major software company but had become disillusioned with the job. She put off looking for a new job because she felt overwhelmed with her current position. Her excuse was that she lacked the time to do it, that is until a friend told her about a terrific new position that sounded just perfect. That got her moving. We began to work together and created her resume, a targeted cover letter, and polished her interviewing skills. From the day she decided to go after the new job, it took her less than three weeks to land it. The job pays over $100K with a lucrative bonus structure, which was a significant raise from the old job. Needless to say, life got immediately better for Julie once she made the decision to act. On top of which, she wrote to tell me that she loves the new job.

If you want to improve your life with a career change here are a few strategies to get you quickly moving in the right direction.

  1. You need a great resume NOW. You simply will avoid applying if you have to "do your resume." Do it right away: set aside the next weekend, sit down and write it. Today's employers want to see the results of your efforts so be specific in outlining accomplishments, noting how you made money for the company, or how much money, time or effort you saved. Note every way in which you have made positive contributions to your recent employers. Your resume is likely to get only a 20-second glance, so be certain it's the best advertisement possible announcing your skills, and get help if you are struggling to write it on your own. Take our resume assessment quiz to learn how well your resume will get employers' attention.

  2. Cherry pick. When you have a job, you need to be very selective about those for which you now elect to apply. Time management is crucial since you will likely only have about five hours a week to job search. Don't waste your time on any job that is not exciting and a pretty decent fit. A new job may be the one that is also a move up so stretch a bit to go after your dreams, but be realistic too.

  3. Write targeted cover letters. Why? Employers LOVE cover letters, and will take time to read well-written ones, meaning yours will get a longer look and you will have a stronger potential to be called in for the interview. The letter must be tailored to the opportunity and quickly outline the qualifications and past accomplishments that you bring to the job, pointing out why you are a good fit. Be sure your opening paragraph summarizes your top skills. For more information on writing winning cover letters click here.

  4. Know what your skills are worth. Learn whether you are truly being underpaid and what you should realistically expect. We have tools on Robin to help you do this: Go to our website and click on Tools. Be well-prepared to effectively handle any salary questions or you may leave money on the table, or worse, not get the job since the interviewer downgraded your skills because your current salary was lower than your skills should garner. Keep this mantra in mind: whoever mentions money first loses -- don't let it be you.

- Robin Ryan

"Ryan's two books 'Winning Resumes' and 'Winning Cover Letters' are terrific resources -- they are my top picks for career books for the year." -- Marvin Walberg, "Get Hired" syndicated columnist. Source: "Winning Resumes" book by Robin Ryan

Need more assistance? Robin is available to help you with individual career counseling.

Copyright 2007 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.

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