It’s often said that it is easier to find a job when you already have one. But while the search itself can be easier—you don’t have to explain any layoffs or gaps in employment, you are currently connected to a network—there are some trickier aspects to this type of job search, primarily keeping your search hidden from your current employer. Here are some advice for how to balance the job search while you’re working.
Keep your search away from the office
This may seem like basic advice, but don’t search for jobs or prepare your resume on your work computer. Don’t put your work phone number or email address on your resume. Try to avoid making or taking calls from potential employers unless you have time to leave the office or have a quiet, private space to do so. Don’t tell coworkers about your plans and in general, just keep the search on your own time.
Don’t post on social media
You may have solid privacy settings up for your social media accounts, but you never know who could stumble upon your post about snagging an interview at your dream company. Use this opportunity to call to tell your friends and family to tell them directly about the job possibility, rather than sharing it with everyone online. Additionally, share your resume individually with different companies, rather than posting it to an online board. If your current company is hiring, they might come across it.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date
The one exception to the previous rule is LinkedIn, but you still need to be smart about using it. If you go in and make a lot of updates, or suddenly have five new recommendations from past colleagues, it may be a red flag for your current boss. Try to keep your LinkedIn profile updated consistently, so it doesn’t appear odd that you are on there a lot when the job search comes around.
Be careful about your references
When supplying references for a new position, be sure to keep your current company in mind. Make sure the references you provide aren’t super-close to your boss or would not be pleased to hear you are looking. It’s also a good idea to talk to your references ahead of time. If you are planning to start the job search, send a quick email to get their permission to hand out their contact information. This will also give them a heads up and allows you to explain a bit about why you want to move on. Oftentimes, a prospective employer will ask if they can contact your current employer, so it is also important to tell them no, and that you would like to keep your search confidential.
Plan interviews wisely
Scheduling interviews while you have a job is one of the trickier aspects of the search. If you can, schedule interviews for before or after your work day or over your lunch break. If your office culture is a bit more relaxed, you may be able to come in late and stay late one day. If you are unable to do that, consider taking a personal day or half-day or step out for an appointment.
Don’t let your interview wardrobe stand out
Going to an interview means stepping it up in the wardrobe department. But if your office is more casual, dressing up may be a red flag. Either bring your interview outfit to change into prior to the appointment, or dress up every now and then so that when you wear that nice dress for the interview, it isn’t noticeable.
Stay committed to your current job
Just because you are job hunting or interviewing, that doesn’t mean you can work with one foot out the door. Stay focused on your work and work consistent hours. In your interviews, don’t badmouth the company or managers and make sure to socialize with your colleagues as much as you normally would. Remember, you don’t have to leave this job; it is a decision you are making. So you can decide to stay if you realize you are happy.
Be nice when putting in your notice
You got the job, yay! But telling your current company is one final thing you have to deal with. Make sure you have a formal offer from the new job before putting in your notice, and don’t burn bridges when you leave. Give a reasonable amount of notice (most companies prefer two weeks) but also be ready if you are going to a direct competitor and they ask you to leave earlier.