Maybe you have reached a point in your career where you are ready to move onto new employment. It is most ideal to look for something new while you still have the security of a paycheck and your current job to fall back on if it doesn’t work out. But, it comes with a set of challenges – most specifically, you don’t want your current position to know you are thinking about jumping ship.
Here are a few tips, suggested by Jennifer Parris in How to Job Hunt While Still Employed, on how to search for a new position without risking the one you currently have.
Instead, emphasize why you are looking for new employment in terms of growth, using your skills to your full potential or pursuing long-term career goals.
Don’t be obvious. You really want to make sure your current boss doesn’t know about job hunting … and that requires some creative scheduling on your part. Schedule interviews before or after work, during a lunch hour or take a vacation day.
“… if you have to, take a day off and try to bundle them together. After all, if you show up to work in a three-piece suit (and your normal attire is jeans and a t-shirt), you’re going to attract some very unnecessary attention at the office,” says Parris.
Don’t tell your boss or coworkers. Assume no one can keep secrets in your workplace. No one. News that you are looking, or have even accepted another position, is likely a juicy piece of gossip and could spread like wildfire. You open yourself up to being fired or made to quit.
“Absolutely do not tell your boss–doing so will compromise your most valuable asset, namely, your current employment. As soon as the company discovers you’re looking, they will start looking for your replacement. Your job is probably toast. You’ve ‘crossed the Rubicon’ and there’s no going back,” Donald Burns, career coach and strategist, is quoted as saying in 8 Tips for Job Hunting While You’re Still Employed.
Don’t search on the company dime. Tracking programs are everywhere these days. Your company will likely see if you have been visiting job sites. Search for jobs, update resumes and apply for positions on your own time – don’t do it when you should have been doing your actual job. That being said, set specific time in your personal schedule to search.
“Set up one or two specific hours each day where you focus solely on looking for a job. You can set up job alerts or an RSS feed to check all the incoming positions that match your criteria; that way your leads are all in one place,” says Lindsay Olson, in How to Job Hunt While You’re Still Employed.
Keep it positive. No matter if you are interviewing or networking, always keep your references to your current employment upbeat, says Angela Rose, 5 Ethical Ways to Search For a New Job While Employed. Never badmouth an employer. Instead, emphasize why you are looking for new employment in terms of growth, using your skills to your full potential or pursuing long-term career goals.
Review your references. Make sure you tell hiring managers at a job interviews that you are currently employed, and it is not okay to reach out to your management for a reference. As importantly, make sure you references aren’t directly connected with your current employer.
Do your current job well. Don’t burn a bridge before you cross it. You may be beyond tired of your current position, but that is not excuse not to do the best work you can do. Do you work and be professional — you want to make sure that when you leave, you still have a good reference. In addition, it isn’t entirely unheard of to accept a position only to have it fall through. You don’t want poor work at your current job to lead you straight onto the unemployment line.