Ever try searching jobs confidentially while currently employed?
Sure you do. It’s a little like trying to play that game of solitaire when the boss isn’t looking, sneaking peeks at job postings in between pretending that pile of work on your desk isn’t getting higher. Or jumping every time the phone rings.
It’s definitely not easy searching and finding a job discretely while still employed, but it’s an activity that’s become ever more present in today’s working world.
A survey by ManpowerGroup indicated that around 41% of all US employees are always on the hunt for a new job.
It’s become so commonplace that there is a new term for it: the ‘continuous candidate’. Working people view things must differently than in previous generations. There is no more long-term loyalty by companies, and therefore, no long-term loyalty from workers either. People are free to work for whoever they wish, go after bigger and better promotions, and practically write their own paychecks.
Playing games, checking Facebook, paying bills, watching a little YouTube. Everybody’s doing a few personal things at work… right?
Not so fast.
Looking for another job while on the company clock could cost you your job.
That is IF you are not playing fairly.
[Related: Here’s an online guide to help you leverage Facebook to get more job leads and tap your online network.]
Read on for 4 tips for staying under the radar while job searching confidentially while still employed.
#1 – Do Avoid Using Company Resources
Tempted to take that phone interview at your work desk?
Using the company internet to look for work or to update your LinkedIn profile?
How about printing out copies of your resume on the company printer?
All of these things are a really bad idea for a number of reasons, including getting caught stealing from the company.
It is a general business practice for companies to monitor all internet activity and record at least a percentage of business phone calls (especially if you work for a company that offers customer service). You can and will get caught, which can mean immediate termination and a tarnished work history.
#2 – Do Take Advantage of New Technology
There are many ways to conduct a discrete, less frustrating job search while employed, without violating any code of ethics. Consider that you can take advantage of the technology around you to manage a job search.
For example, LinkedIn just rolled out a new feature called Open Candidates, which allows professionals to be searched by recruiters, without alerting anyone else when a job search is going on. Other social networks also have privacy settings that can limit who can see what information.
So too, job alert emails can be set up to automatically send new job leads, eliminating the need to search the net all day. If you have an email out of box function on your personal email, use it to send resumes to interested employers.
#3 – Do Put Your Work Tasks First
One of the sure signs of someone looking for a new job secretly, while still employed, is suddenly going from being engaged to being disconnected and distracted on the job. No matter how much you try to hide it, sooner or later it will show. This also goes for drastically changing your hairstyle, clothes, and makeup.
You also don’t want to start neglecting your duties or procrastinating on projects, because you do want a positive reference when that time arises, right?
If you must take a phone interview, use your personal cell phone and schedule it off the clock or on a lunch break to avoid looking nervous and not giving your job the full attention it deserves. Turn the phone and texting off the rest of the time if possible. Don’t change your behavior or otherwise, let on to others your job-search status.
Get some outside help from a resume writer to fix up your resume and LinkedIn profile, and to keep an eye out for new job opportunities.
#4 – Do Maintain Good Relationships
Searching jobs discretely, you may find it all too easy to become annoyed or even have disgruntled feelings towards your colleagues, your boss, and even customers. Knowing you are checking out soon can leave you wondering why even bother with the daily façade. This is never a good mental space to be and you could easily wind up creating more drama for yourself than it’s worth.
Knowing you are checking out soon can leave you wondering why even bother with the daily façade. This is never a good mental space to be and you could easily wind up creating more drama for yourself than it’s worth.
Be sure to continue to pay attention to positive working relationships with your supervisors, your co-workers, and most importantly your customers. You worked hard to get where you are now and there’s no sense in burning any bridges, even for a job you hate. One never knows if there may come a day when you could be doing business with a former employer or someone there in the future.
One never knows if there may come a day when you could be doing business with a former employer or someone there in the future.
Hey, maybe your boss is a lot like Meryl Streep’s character in the movie The Devil Wears Prada, and you’d like to give her a good piece of your mind. But please, show some restraint and always opt for the high road. This is about your professional reputation and not about getting even.
You wouldn’t want someone at your new job to find out you were badmouthing your last boss, now would you?
Use your networks and connections
It may be challenging to network and conduct a job search while still employed, but the efforts you make to follow these Do’s will pay off in dividends. Connect with the right people who can help you, such as a recruiter, a career coach, or an executive resume writer with outstanding connections.
This approach will work in your favor and you won’t experience the stress and worry about getting caught.
Editorial Note: Wondering why I chose “do’s” instead of “dos” for this article title? Grammar Girl offers this bit of advice for picking the correct punctuation: “Unless your editor wishes otherwise, if you write books, spell it dos and don’ts; and if you write for newspapers, magazines, or the Web, spell it do’s and don’ts. If you’re writing for yourself, spell it any way you want. Just be consistent.”