How to start your job search while you’re still employed

Published: 04 Mar 2014 By James Stacey

The decision to look for a new job inevitably starts when your current employment does not satisfy your needs. Whether you feel underpaid, unchallenged or driven by external forces to find pastures new, these ‘needs’ sometimes feel like they must be addressed straight away. But often, the decision to make a move can result in more problems than you imagined.

As the planning jobs market is a very competitive one, there are certain things that you may want to do to increase your chances of a successful transition. But remember, career management isn’t just something that should be considered when you’re job hunting; it should be practised as part of your professional life.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1.      Understand why it is that you want to leave and what needs must be met by your new role. When searching for a new job, you will come across hundreds of roles that look better on paper but, in reality, may have the same sort of problems as your current job. In other words, the grass isn’t always greener!

2.      Build and nurture a professional network of people who know you, trust you, and can honestly comment on the work you do. At the very least you should have a completed LinkedIn profile, but jobs can be advertised across all platforms so it makes sense to keep your professional online presence as wide as possible.

3.      Your CV and covering letter are your first impression to your potential employer, so make them both good. There are many sources to help you perfect these documents, as a bland CV will undo all your hard work in other areas. As well as asking friends or colleagues to review your CV, don’t be afraid to seek professional help – CV Writers have a wealth of knowledge in these areas and have already helped many in the planning industry find the jobs they want

4.      Keep track of your skills, as well as what you’ve accomplished. This is not only for your CV, but for the whole job hunting journey – being able to talk about your achievements may  impress  potential employers and being able to talk about multiple examples shows that you have a real commitment to your work. Where possible, use numbers and percentages to back up your credentials.

5.      Keep developing professionally. Even if your current employer is unwilling to subsidise or pay for training, there are many options including workshops, webinars and seminars. The Royal Town Planning Institute has a virtual learning site. Alternatively, volunteering to speak at events, doing a ‘lunch and learn’, and writing blogs or news articles are all excellent ways to build contacts and will help your CV stand out. 

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