Tips for job hunting while employed
Depending on the circumstances and how eager you are to move on from your current job, searching for new work can be risky. Your current employer may become upset if they find out you are planning to leave and you could be leaving much sooner than you can afford. There is nothing wrong with wanting to find another job; long gone are the days when you took a job and stuck with it for life. Consider the following tips to help you mitigate the risks.
1 – Keep it separate from your work.
If you spend a lot of time during your workday at a computer, the temptation is there to perform work search tasks using company resources. This is a really bad idea, since most work places these days keep track of employee Internet usage and it is very easy to leave evidence of your personal work search efforts even if you are being very careful. If you absolutely must make contact with a prospective employer, make sure to go out to your car or for a walk around the building and use your personal cell phone.
2 – Schedule interviews strategically.
If possible, make sure to schedule meeting and interviews around your normal work hours. While an easy way around this may be to say you are sick or have a dentist/doctor appointment, being dishonest never ends well in the long run. Prospective employers may see you as having integrity for remaining committed to your current job and asking for meetings outside of work hours. Sometimes this may be difficult to set up and if it’s not possible be prepared to sacrifice a personal or vacation day.
3 – Do not deviate from your normal clothing.
On the day of the interview do not wear your interview clothing to your current job, unless that is how you normally dress. This is something that will automatically arouse suspicions around the workplace. Even though it can be a inconvenience, make sure you leave yourself some time to go home and change or have a place planned where you can make a quick wardrobe change away from work.
4 – Do not discuss it with co-workers.
It is best to keep completely quiet at work about your job search. Do not even tell your closest trusted co-workers because news like that has a way of spreading, even unintentionally. You also never know when there are others at your work who are searching for a similar position and could steal your opportunity from you.
5 – Keep your profiles updated.
Regardless of whether you are currently looking for other work or not, you should keep your LinkedIn profile (as well as any other career related profiles) consistently updated. It is normal for people to keep this kind of information up-to-date these days and that alone won’t raise any red flags for you current employer, but large/sudden activity where there hasn’t been any for a year will. Watch out as even the new people you connect with on LinkedIn can come up in your current bosses feed. There is a place in your preferences where you can tune your privacy settings but by default they are set very open.
6 – Do not announce it on social media.
If you do not want word to get back to your current employer about your work search, do not announce it to the world on social media. Even if you are not direct friends with your employer on social media sites, they still might be viewing your profile or sensitive information may get reposted by a friend to somewhere where it will get noticed.
7 – Do not put your resume up on job boards.
This one may be obvious, but employers are often searching job boards for new candidate hires and coming across your resume will definitely cause concern for your current boss.
8 – Be happy.
It can be very difficult to stay focused and enthusiastic in your current job with the prospect of new work looming. Try to put extra effort into your work if you can and know that whatever systems or procedures you can still put in place now will benefit the person that is going to be replacing you. Stay productive and positive knowing that things will be changing soon.
9 – Do not list your current employer as a reference.
One of the worst ways your current employer can find out that you are wanting to leave is by getting an unexpected reference call. While some bosses may be OK with this and will still give you good reviews, most will not like this and it could jeopardize your current job as well as your prospective job. It is a good idea when communicating with new people to tell them to please not contact your current employer.
10 – Be honest if you are found out.
In the event that despite your best efforts, you are found out, do not lie about it. Dishonesty will only make things worse. If you are honest and give your reasons about why you want to leave, you have a chance of keeping on good terms. Be sure to have some answers prepared in case this happens. If the honest truth is very negative sounding, try to put a positive spin on it to try and take blame away from the company and toward your personal advancement. Be sure to inform them that it is not affecting your current productivity and you will be sure to provide two weeks notice (or whatever is appropriate) if and when the time comes. If your employer really likes you, they may even give you a counter-offer. Make sure you know what (if anything) you are willing to accept to stay at your current position.
Searching for work while employed can be really tricky. Unless company-wide layoffs have been announced or your position is being phased out, it is best to keep your work search activities private. Hopefully these tips have been a good reminder of what not to do. Good luck!