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Working As You Search

Be Cool...and Stable
by Darrell Gurney, CPC, JCTC

There's nothing wrong with a quick, calculated career change. However, if you're going to err, do so on the side of "calculated." In the eyes of a recruiter, being unemployed or bouncing from job to job-whether for survival (layoff) or opportunity-detracts from your marketability. A hiring company wants to feel that you are today's "hot stuff," not last week's leftovers. Just as shortsighted and naïve, they want to believe that your hooking up with them will be "special"-not just another romp in the pay. So, if at all possible, stay gainfully employed while searching for your next position.

Consider these benefits of keeping your job while searching for another:

A hiring company often values what another employer has, more than something they can get gratis. Call it human nature, but if a freebie is offered at your door, don't you wonder why? Companies do, and the "Why unemployed?" question comes into play…which leaves you scrambling to justify yourself.

Staying in your current position, you continue to earn a paycheck until you find the right opportunity. Your decision to move will always be better when you uncover something that really calls to you rather than something taken out of desperation. Desperate choices bode more of the same.

Remaining employed, you're not sitting at home bored, anxiety ridden, going through the classifieds/Internet while waiting for your headhunter to call. Your mind stays occupied and less stressed about the transition. Less stress means better decisions.

Don't jump from the frying pan into the fire. If you're going to make a move, make it a good one. Today's shortage of top candidates for the abundance of available positions may grant you some forgiveness if you make a mistake. But again, you have to justify yourself. A stable background never requires justification: your established tenure alone testifies that you get the job done. Shorter stints require proof to a prospective employer that the static came from the atmosphere…and the fault was not in your set.

Finally, don't buy into the myth that you'll be better off in a full-time job search. There will always be enough time to interview for the positions that really interest you-even while holding down your current one. In today's candidate-driven market, hiring companies will work around your schedule…and you'll perform much better as a cool, collected, working professional.


Excerpted from Headhunters Revealed! Career Secrets for Choosing and Using Professional Recruiters. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written consent from Hunter Arts Publishing. and without prior consent of the author. Darrell W. Gurney, Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), Certified Jobs and Transition Coach (JCTC), and Licensed Spiritual Counselor (RScP) is Principal of A Permanent Success National Career/Search Partners ( and author of Headhunters Revealed! Career Secrets for Choosing and Using Professional Recruiters ($14.95, Softcover), available online at or by calling 1-877-4-HEADHUNT. Headhunters Revealed! received the Clarion Award for Best Book by the Association for Women in Communications, has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly and the American Library Association's Booklist, and has been featured in nationally syndicated career columnist Joyce Lain Kennedy's "Careers Now." Sign up for a FREE monthly subscription to The Career Secrets™ Newsletter at © Hunter Arts Publishing.

Need help with your career? Get a Career Coach. Darrell Gurney, CPC, JCTC can help you through your career. Email your inquiries to

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