Tips for Looking for a New Job on the Sly

Nancy Anderson
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On average, Americans switch jobs 10 to 15 times over the course of their careers. When your current position no longer meets your needs in terms of salary, benefits, promotion opportunities or quality of life, it may be time to move on, and that usually means starting a job search while still employed. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few tips to help you succeed.

Keep Your Search at Home

It is unethical to use work resources, including your time on the clock, for your job search. Also, by confining all job search activities to off-work locations and hours, you are less likely to be seen or overheard checking out prospective employers. Don't share information about your job search with other employees, even if they seem trustworthy, and avoid checking the email and phone number that you use in your job search during job hours. If you must check or reply during the day, take your lunch break offsite to decrease the chance that someone will find out that you are looking for work.

Ask for Interview Accommodations

Typical job interviews take place during work hours but taking a lot of time off may alert your employer to your job search. Instead, try to schedule interviews outside of your current job hours. If you let prospective employers know that you are currently employed and don't want to take a lot of time off, they may value your work ethic and be willing to help you find a solution. Perhaps interviews are available early in the morning or late in the day after you leave the office. Phone or video-chat interviews are other options that take less time than commuting to an in-person interview.

Request Discretion

Be sure to let all prospective employers know you have not alerted your current employer to your job search. This is especially important if you work in a niche industry where employers have a lot of contact with each other or if you are applying for positions at companies located in the same area in which you work. It's a good idea to mention your need for discretion with all of the people you interact with during your search and to reinforce the request at each stage of the hiring process.

Give Your Current Job Your All

One of the best ways to keep your job search private is by continuing to perform well in your current position. Don't just do enough to get by at your current company. Take on challenges, volunteer to help coworkers, and continue learning new things. If you are seen as a capable and hard worker, your supervisor is unlikely to think you are looking for work elsewhere. This also puts you in line for promotion opportunities, especially if your job search doesn't work out.

A new job can be just what you need to move your career along, but until you have accepted that job offer, take steps to safeguard your current work. By being discrete, doing job search activities on your own time and continuing to succeed in your current role, you protect your interests on all fronts, helping to ensure a successful future whether a great new position comes along or you decide to stay put.


Photo courtesy of library.ramsey@Flickr.com

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