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Searching for the next step in your career is a daunting process, and can feel even more awkward if you do so while already in a job.
We often hear it said that it is easier to find a job if you are already in one. The reasons given can vary from not appearing ‘too desperate’ to being seen by employers as a ‘safe hire’. In general, we seem to have more self-confidence in ourselves and our abilities when we have a safety net. However, most people would be keen to hide their job search from their current employer. This is understandable – there is no guarantee that you will land any job that you apply for, and you probably don’t want to create an ‘awkward’ working environment between yourself, your colleagues and your boss.
We leave jobs for a multitude of reasons; perhaps there is no opportunity for progression with your present employer, perhaps you have found yourself in a hostile working environment, or maybe you have simply come across your dream job.
We have gathered a list of practical tips that can help you to shield your job hunt from your boss:
- Use a common-sense approach to technology. This means no contacting potential employers using your work email address or phone number. It’s probably best to avoid job hunting during work hours, as you may have to take a call suddenly and come up with an excuse.
- Be wary of who you tell about your job search. This article in ‘The Balance’ advises against telling work colleagues that you are actively searching for a new job. It is likely that someone will let it slip (unintentionally or not) to management, particularly if you are working in a small office environment.
- Use social media carefully. Sites like LinkedIn are fantastic tools that can really aid a job search. However, there are drawbacks. According to Business Insider it might look slightly suspicious if your profile is constantly being updated, or if your number of connections rises dramatically. LinkedIn also has an option to allow recruiters to know that you are interested without notifying your employer. Simply go to Settings & Privacy, select the Privacy tab, and scroll down to ‘Job seeking’. Here, you can select the ‘Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities’ option.
Sometimes, preventative measures are not enough, and your employer finds out that you are looking at other career options. Here are a few ways you can handle this uncomfortable situation:
- Avoid Lying. It might be tempting to lie and claim that you are not job hunting. According to this Forbes article, lying is a poor long term strategy and cause difficulties for you later. Your boss might not feel too generous when your potential employer calls looking to check on your references, if you have told them that you are staying put.
- Continue to keep your work up to standard. Muse writes that it is possible that upon finding out that you wish to move on, your work with your present company will be called into question. Your employer may fear that you will slack off as you near the end of your time with them, and you can allay those fears by continuing to perform to a high standard, meeting your deadlines and remaining a team player.
Finally, it’s important to remember that simply speaking to your management can be very effective. It could be a chance to clear the air on problems that you are having in the workplace (keeping the tone professional of course). According to Muse, being open and honest with management could also lead to a promotion or salary increase, if your current employer doesn’t want to lose you.
However, an open discussion is not possible in every work environment, for a variety of reasons. As you progress through your job search, there are many supports you can avail of, such as our infographic on preparing for interviews.