No doubt, you want to conduct a job search while you’re still employed in order to make the transition easier and to prevent down time. The good news is that searching for jobs has become easier than ever via online job boards, Google searches and social media. The bad news is these platforms are public and could lead to word getting back to your employer. However, doing so recklessly puts you in a precarious position, particularly if you’re making it easy for your current employer to discover what you’re up to. In order to avoid unnecessary tension or mistrust at your workplace, it’s important that you take the following careful steps to keep your job search discreet:
NEVER DO ANYTHING ON COMPANY TIME
Besides possible legal complications, it’s also unethical to conduct your job search when you’re technically on the clock for your current employer. This means no resume updating, interviewing or job board scanning when you’re supposed to be working. Though it may be tempting, especially if you’re disinterested in your current role, try and save the job hunt for nights and weekends.
MAINTAIN YOUR PROFESSIONALISM
If you’re unhappy in your current role and you intend to be moving elsewhere in the near future, productivity or clocking in late and clocking out early may raise warning bells for your employer and lead them to suspect that you are looking for work elsewhere. Maintaining your professionalism will also help you later on, when it comes to handing in your resignation, leaving the company on positive terms and ensuring that your receive glowing references.
BE CAREFUL WHEN USING JOB SEARCH SERVICES
If you’re using a job search website, find out what services are available to you, so that you may keep your search confidential. Some sites will let you hide your contact information until an employer decides to get in touch with you for an interview. By this way, you’re still able to take advantage of the service, without having to broadcast the fact that you’re looking to anyone who might be casually browsing the board.
USE PERSONAL EMAIL
Let’s say that you are logged into your work email when you find the perfect part-time telecommuting position. Without thinking, you apply for the position from your work email. That’s a double negative on two levels. First, your company definitely has access to your email account and can easily read the emails you receive and send. In some instances, you can even be fired for using your work email for something non-work related, such as applying for other jobs. On the other hand, your potential boss won’t look too favorably on your gaffe, either. Even if you are the right candidate for the position, he might assume that you don’t care enough for (or respect) your current job or that you could potentially do the same thing to him if you were hired for the position. Be sure to always check which email you’re logged into before you hit “send” on a job application.
BE SELECTIVE ABOUT YOUR REFERENCES
It’s likely that your references are part of your tight-knit network, so let your references know that your job search is confidential. And of course, if you’re trying to keep your job search confidential from your current manager, make sure they aren’t listed as a reference. Instead, provide the names of previous managers as well as a trusted colleague from your current company who is aware of your job search and can speak to your performance. “If a hiring manager insists on a reference directly from your boss, explain that you can provide one at the point of offer,” says Gallo, a career expert.
INTERVIEW ON YOUR OWN TIME
Lastly, most employers will want to interview you during normal business hours. Don’t sneak off for fake meetings or feign being sick. Fit the interviews into your schedule without cheating your current employer. If your boss tracks your every move, take vacation, explain that you have a personal issue you need to resolve.