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We’re sitting at work when the phone rings: it’s a recruiter, offering us our dream job at double our current salary! Sadly, this only has happened in our dreams.
But even if your dream job does not come that easily when you’re awake, you may inadvertently run across job opportunities that you did not seek. It can be awkward and outright dangerous to explore these opportunities while you are still employed, but with some planning, you can limit the potential for trouble with your current employer and be ready to evaluate your options with confidence.
Have Long-Term Goals. If you have never given serious thought to what your dream job is, how will you know when you find it?
Keep Your Resume Updated. It is always a good idea to keep your resume updated and current with the accomplishments in your existing job. It is difficult to remember them all if you are let go after 20 years on the job with no updates. Dates and details of your successes may be hard to remember, and you are likely to leave out achievements that may be important to include.
Keep Current on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for keeping your name out in the open with peers and potential employers. Maintain a good network of connections and update your accomplishments regularly. If you ignore your LinkedIn page and then engage with a flurry of updates and new connections, it could raise a red flag with your current employer.
Stay Connected. Networking within your industry is useful. This is one of the most likely paths by which you will pick up job opportunities – through face-to-face industry connections. Keep up-to-date on technology in your field, attend conferences and seminars, and be aware of trends. That is sound advice whether you are considering another job or not.
Outlining long-term career goals and desires will keep you grounded and help you to evaluate your new opportunity objectively. It is easy to get caught up in the thrill of being pursued and looking at new opportunities without checking to see if your new offer really is a better career move in the long term.
It is easier to continuously expand your resume and then edit it down later than it is to recall past accomplishments to add.
If your resume is online, and your current employer questions why you updated it, point out that while you are not looking for a new job, there is no guarantee of what the future may hold, and that it is simply prudent to update a resume periodically. However, you should work on it at home, on your own time, and with your own resources.
LinkedIn is also a great and relatively informal place to keep others updated on new skills, endorsements, certifications, and other accomplishments of yours that may not pertain directly to your current job but may interest a new employer.
Social media connections like Twitter and Facebook are equally useful, but be careful. These sites can just as easily cost you a job as gain you one. Your interest in another job can get back to your current employer, even if they are not actively looking for such activity. Choose your friends and followers wisely.
Be ready when opportunity knocks. Take the above steps and be ready to consider your opportunities without damaging your relationship with your current employer. Perhaps you will find your dream job in some place other than your sleep.