Should You Start Looking for a Job Before You Quit?

Tips For Starting a Job Search While You're Still Working

Image Copyright Getty Images Christopher Robbins

Should you quit first and job hunt second? Or start looking for a job before you quit? The saying that you shouldn't quit your job before you find a new one is often true, but there can be exceptions.

Difficult bosses who threaten your mental or physical health, relocation for a partner's job, intolerable working conditions or levels of stress, an inability to master the job, an employer who has asked you to do something unethical, or an organization that is going under are all reasons that it can make sense to quit your job sooner rather than later.

In other cases, you might be changing your career and need education or training to make the transition which can't be completed while holding down your current job.

Starting a Job Search Before Quitting

It is often worth considering at least starting a job search before quitting. Ideally, you will start your search prior to your work situation becoming intolerable. If you can start looking before you quit, it will give you an idea of what it may require for you to land a new position.

Starting a job search while you are still working has other advantages in addition to continuing to have a paycheck and benefits. If you quit you may not be eligible for unemployment.

If you're employed, you will have less explaining to do regarding your need for a new job during job interviews. You can maintain a positive spin on your current job and focus on why the new job would be even better. Here's advice on how to answer Here's advice on how to answer interview questions about leaving your job.

You might be able to enlist the support of a key manager with the promise of smoothing the transition for your successor. Of course, you will need to carefully gauge your employer's potential reaction to learning of your planned departure to decide whether to maintain a covert approach to your search.

Here's advice on how to job search while you're employed.

That said, there is currently less of a negative association with an unemployed status given the large number of layoffs during the economic downturn. For those people with extremely busy work schedules, it may be necessary to ultimately leave your job to invest sufficient time in your search. If you decide to quit, be sure to have a financial plan in place because you don't know how long it will take to find your next job.

Keeping it Professional

Whatever you decide about the timing of starting a job search, avoid saying anything negative when you depart. Make sure that you maintain positive relationships with your bosses and co-workers since your next employer may require references from your previous employer or may conduct a background check. When you resign, keep it professional and don't burn any bridges with your current employer. Here's how to resign from a job.

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