The best time to look for your next job is while you still have one because then you’ve got the space to actually search for the job you really want rather than taking the first one that comes along. In this way, you’ll be certain to actually climb the corporate ladder and to find your way towards a job that is truly fulfilling instead of just putting food on the table.
That said, there are certain extra dimensions to job searching while still employed.
Today we’re going to talk about how to avoid getting into trouble with your boss. How can you find the time to actually look for a job while still employed? How should you balance the job hunting and your actual job requirements? What can you make public and what can't you? How can you avoid having your job hunt come back and blow up in your face?
Make Sure You Update Your LinkedIn Quietly
In fact, while we’re on the topic of LinkedIn, make sure it’s updated. This is one of the best places for you to start your job search, as most people do a good job of keeping their LinkedIn up-to-date even when they’re not actually looking for a job.
You do have to be careful, however, as Linkedin lets other people know a great many things about what you’re up to. For example, make certain that you turn off your LinkedIn alerts when updating your profile and linking up with recruiters, as this is yet another way for information about what you’re doing getting back to your employers.
Don’t Spread About Your CV or Ask Others to Hand It Around
Sure, you’ve just written up a fantastic cover letter to accompany your CV and you want to spread it around. Our advice doesn't want you to. This is particularly true if you’re higher up in the hierarchy. As the world gets a lot smaller, the higher up you get. That means that your perfectly written CV can end up right in the hands of one of your bosses or of your company’s HR. And that wouldn’t be a very good way for them to find out, either (though not as bad as catching you writing it up on their computers, of course).
Instead, when you do hand over your CV to a prospective employer, make it clear that you’re doing so confidentially and ask them not to spread around copies to others. If somebody can get your CV in the hands of somebody at another company, make absolutely certain that it only goes only into that person’s hands and that they ask you before handing it over to somebody else.
Don’t Bad-Talk Your Current Employers
Sure, you might want to. You might be filled with a lot of pent-up frustration about your current employer and when you’re asked about it at an interview, it might be oh so tempting to spill the beans.
Don’t. The job interview is not about making clear how much you don’t like your current place of employment. Instead, it’s about getting a new job to replace the one that you want to leave behind. Being negative and spiteful about where you’re currently working is not going to impress them. After all, what’s going to stop you from doing exactly the same thing to them when you decide it’s time to move on from their company?
Instead, when they ask you about why you’re leaving, talk about how the situation changed, how you’ve learned everything you can, or how you feel it’s time for something new. Those are nicely neutral answers that won’t reflect badly on you or your employers.
Start Your Day With the Job Hunt
If you’re holding down a job, it can be very hard to find time for job hunting, particularly at the end of the day when you’ve already worked long hours and really just want to relax.
For that reason, don’t wait with hunting for a new job until the evening. Instead, get up an hour earlier in the morning and hunt for jobs then. At this point, you’ll still have energy and haven’t yet depleted your willpower, so you’ll be able to get a great deal done.
What’s more, with that below your belt, it’s far easier to actually go into your place of employment, even if you don’t like it, because you know you’re taking active steps to get out of there.
Don’t Tell Anybody at Work
Most places of employment are also places where people socialize and gossip. You looking for another job is just too good a piece of gossip for most people to pass up. After all, it’s directly relevant to the company that you’re all working at ("why are they leaving?") and it will impact your current co-workers' lives.
Once they tell somebody else, then there’s suddenly two people walking around with a secret that they want to reveal to the rest of the people that work at your company. By then, you can be sure that the cat is out of the bag and it’s just a matter of time before somebody higher up finds out.
That can be disastrous, as many bosses and supervisors will see you leaving as a betrayal and take steps to make your life at work a great deal harder (if they even let you continue working there). This can range from being frozen out of opportunities and important meetings to harassment and creating a hostile atmosphere.
So, don’t tell anybody that you’re looking for another job. I know it’s tempting, but it is hugely unfair to the person that you tell it to. After all, they’re left with a big secret that they can’t tell anybody, but no doubt want to in many situations.
Yes, there are a lot of don’ts in that list. Don’t think that that means that you should quit before you apply for a new job, however. After all, most potential employers will think you’re all the more impressive if you’re currently employed (it’s the "we want what we can’t have" thing).
What’s more, job hunting while employed means that you’ve got space. I mean this in two ways. First of all, it means that you can take the time to really find what you want. Secondly, when you go into an interview, you’ll be a lot more relaxed and at ease because even if it doesn’t go right, you’ll still be gainfully employed.
It just means that you’ve got to be extra careful. However, I imagine I’ve managed to impress that last point upon you already.