Your grandmother\u2019s advice still stands: Don\u2019t quit your current job until you have a written offer in hand.\n\nYes, it is a job-seeker\u2019s market, with more perks and flexibility on the table than in past years. But it can take months, requiring multiple rounds of interviews with several levels of signoffs, to actually land a new position at a different company.\n\nThe \u201cGreat Resignation\u201d \u2014 which sees people quitting in droves without having another job lined up \u2014 applies predominantly to hourly workers and not to tech experts, says Donald Burns, an executive career strategist and resume expert based in New York. \u201cMost IT people aren\u2019t leaving that way,\u201d he says. For the majority of white-collar workers, \u201cthere are all kinds of delays [to finding a new job] due to economic uncertainty and extreme caution exercised by employers\u201d because of bad experiences, he explains.\n\nEven for IT pros with hot skills, \u201cit\u2019s very, very difficult\u201d to look for a job while holding one down at the same time, says Jayne Mattson, principal of an eponymous career management consultancy. \u201cIf the process goes too quickly, that can be a red light,\u201d she adds. The job you\u2019re applying for is open for a reason; make sure you do your due diligence.\n\nStill, if you believe that your existing job is no longer a fit for you, here are some tips for how to approach job hunting while keeping your current gig.\n\n1. Look around, then take a deep breath\n\nIt\u2019s always good to see what jobs are available, and to know what your skills are worth on the open market. And now\u2019s a good time to take a self-evaluation to see what you really want to do or determine what you need in a job to be happy. \u201cOver the course of the pandemic, people have had the opportunity to reevaluate their career paths and jobs, and think through what\u2019s next,\u201d says Samantha Lawrence, senior vice president of people strategy at online jobs site Hired.\n\n2. Don\u2019t overlook the possibilities where you already work\n\nIf the source of your displeasure is needing more flexibility \u2014 to, say, pick up your kids at school at a specific time \u2014 that might well be fixable. Or perhaps you want to work at home more often or receive more training opportunities. \u201cAsk yourself what\u2019s not working or what\u2019s not fulfilling,\u201d Hired\u2019s Lawrence advises. \u201cIf it comes down to one or two things, and you can see yourself growing in your current company, have the conversation.\u201d\n\nApproach your manager with what you want and work out a plan together that will address your needs. Perhaps you need to figure out when you will make up any time away from the job, or how you\u2019ll come up to speed regarding any meetings you miss. \u201cBecause there\u2019s so much attrition, companies are more open to having these conversations,\u201d Lawrence says.\n\nAnd don\u2019t forget to check out the careers section of your company\u2019s website. It can be much easier to transfer to another division or team in your existing company than it is to start from scratch somewhere else.\n\n3. Don\u2019t burn bridges\n\nNo matter how frustrated you are, don\u2019t storm off in a huff. In the long term, it\u2019s never worth it. At the very least you\u2019re going to want a decent referral from your existing employer, and you don\u2019t want to create a reputation as someone who leaves co-workers in a lurch. At some point you might wind up working with your former colleagues again \u2014 or even report to one \u2014 at another company. As satisfying as it can feel in the moment, leaving with little or no notice can come back to haunt you for years to come. (See #4, below.)\n\n4. Build your human network\n\nThe best way to find a job is through people you know who can vouch for your skills and knowledge, potential fit with their company, and work ethic. And while the pandemic has certainly isolated people, it\u2019s a good time to pick your head up and join (or re-join) user groups, build or strengthen your university alumni connections, and attend relevant Meetups.\n\n\u201cIf you\u2019re a specialized Java e-commerce programmer, what groups do you belong to?\u201d asks Victor Janulaitis, founder and CEO of Janco Associates. \u201cThat\u2019s how you find your next job or figure out which skills to add to your inventory or meet someone who knows the quality of the work you do and can recommend you.\u201d You need someone \u201cwho can advocate for you in a new organization.\u201d\n\nAsk people you know who recently landed new jobs how they did it, even if it\u2019s in another industry. Also make sure to stay in touch with, or renew your relationship with, anyone who has mentored you in the past.\n\n5. Pay particular attention to LinkedIn\n\nEveryone should use this tool on a daily basis, Mattson says. \u201cThat\u2019s where you bump into people you know, or might want to know, and it\u2019s where the decision-makers are,\u201d she advises. Ease into conversations and comment on posts from other people, she says. Make sure to schedule your posts before or after work hours.\n\nIdeally you want to update your profile and start posting long before you start looking for a job, so you don\u2019t tip off anyone in your current job that you\u2019re in search.\n\nJust don\u2019t over-rely on this tool, or any other, experts say. Online communities are great helpers, but they don\u2019t take the place of human connection.\n\n6. Be discreet\n\nDon\u2019t advertise that you\u2019re looking around. Avoid posting your resume on job sites, some experts suggest, because it might be sent to your current employer, even inadvertently. Instead, make those one-on-one connections (see item #4) and send your resume to people you know. \u201cExplore, but do it under the radar,\u201d Burns says. Figure out where you\u2019d like to work, then approach people in that company privately.\n\n7. Be smart\n\nUse your personal, non-work phone and computer to contact potential employers, set up interviews, and send out your resume. Don\u2019t put any personal email on your work machine. \u201cEveryone should have their own desktop and cellphone that are airgapped from the job,\u201d Janulaitis says.\n\nAny gear your company gave or sent you when you started working there, or anything they help pay for (like your phone bill), means that equipment is theirs. Not only can the company demand it back at any point, but there might be a \u2018big brother\u2019-type app that monitors what you\u2019re doing. And if you have to hand everything back, there go all your connections, text messages, and the like.\n\nYou might also need to \u2018airgap\u2019 your professional associations. If your company paid for those, and you find them valuable, then spend your own money on those fees so you can legitimately take membership lists, minutes from any meetings, and conference proceedings with you to your next post, or to help you land that new job.\n\n8. Don\u2019t neglect your existing job\u2026\n\nRemember it might take a while to find your new role, and you must continue to tend to your existing job. \u201cAt the end of the day, you have a commitment to your current job and are still expected to meet the requirements,\u201d Hired\u2019s Lawrence says. Go to the meetings, nail those deadlines. You don\u2019t want your inattention to detail to be a tell to your boss or co-workers that your brain has left the building even if your body is still there.\n\n9. \u2026 but make time to search\n\n\u201cSome people are so sucked into their jobs, like gravity, that they need willpower to make the search work,\u201d Burns says. The good news is that with so much remote work going on, you probably won\u2019t need to physically travel anywhere to interview. Pre-pandemic you\u2019d need to take vacation time, or work through lunchtime and leave the office early. Just schedule any online search-related meetings or interviews at times when you won\u2019t be missed.\n\nJanco\u2019s Janulaitis calls it \u201ctaking time to plant your roses,\u201d and suggests that you can spend 5% of your work time on a job search, as long as you\u2019re still doing your job and performing well.\n\nHired\u2019s Lawrence says that how much time you spend searching, and when, depends on how badly you want \u2014 or need \u2014 to leave your current job. If you must leave imminently for any reason, then consider taking time off to update your resume or portfolio, identify or learn any new skills you might need, or conduct that assessment of what you want to do next. But if you can make it a more leisurely search, you might be able to fit it all in without taking vacation time.\n\n10. Be clear with potential employers\n\nUnderstand what you must have in your new role and do all you can to make sure these needs will be met. Don\u2019t inadvertently take a new job that has the same or similar downsides to your current job. It\u2019s easy to get caught up in a shiny new title, or more money or perks, and forget why you started looking in the first place. \u201cMake sure you stay true to your north star in your job search,\u201d Lawrence says.