How to look for a job – without looking like you’re looking for a job
Recently, I wrote about how the best time to quit your job is when you’ve already lined up your next one. Looking for a new job while you’re currently employed can be tricky, but most people have to do it at some point in their career.
In fact, 54% of the visitors to Workopolis are currently employed. I’d like to think that some of those folks are just coming to our site to read the great articles (indulge me.) But the vast majority are people looking to change jobs. So, you want to start something new, but you don’t want your company to feel the need to replace you before you’re ready to leave. How can you make the leap without losing your footing? By going undercover.
Here are some covert job hunting techniques for landing that next gig without tipping off your current one:
Update your info
Start by writing out the latest accomplishments you’ve had at work, any new skills you’ve acquired or technologies you’ve learned since you last updated your resume. This will give you the content you need not only for your future applications, but also for the stories you tell in interviews. Employers will want to hear about your specific achievements as indicators of what you can do for them. You can also use this information to update your resume and social media profiles.
Talk to your boss
At this point you may want to have a conversation with your current boss. Don’t tell them that you are looking elsewhere; just highlight the recent wins that you wrote down, and let them know that you are hoping to take on more. The fact is that most people want to grow their careers, they want to increase their responsibilities and yes, earn more money. Your current employers will likely understand this, and they may be able to accommodate you. Maybe there’s an advanced role in the company, or even just more projects or responsibilities that you could take on in order to progress in your role.
Stealthy social media
If that doesn’t pan out, it’s time to start reaching out. While you want to have the latest and best information featured online, you don’t want to put your current position at risk by proclaiming for all to see that you’re looking for a new job. To avoid this, you can remove LinkedIn or Facebook connections to your current boss or coworkers. You can also turn off your activity broadcasts while editing and updating your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to update your work history on Facebook so that it is consistent with what you say on LinkedIn, but then remove the announcement of the updates from your timeline.
Resume under wraps
Workopolis allows you to post a confidential resume online. This means that the employers who search this site 16,000 every day for candidates will be able to see your skills, education and work history, but not your name, contact information or current employer. If they are interested, they can send you an email filtered through Workopolis. At that point you get to decide if you want to reveal your identity to the potential employer.
You can also sign up for Workopolis Job Alerts. These will email you when new jobs matching your criteria are posted online – so you can keep an eye on what jobs are out there and what becomes available – without having to constantly visit our site.
Watch your wardrobe
If you work in a casual workplace and suddenly start showing up in a suit, it can be a dead giveaway that you’re going to interviews. Be prepared to change or adjust your clothes between work and the interview. Stop wearing jeans to work right away. (Pants can be the hardest thing to change en route.)
You’re an undercover agent, not a thief. So don’t slack off at your current job just because you’re looking for a new one. Don’t use your work computer or work email address to look for new jobs. They belong to the company, and they may be monitored. Plus it sends the terrible message to potential future employers that you are willing to use your company’s time and resources for your own personal agenda.
If your cover is blown
If your bosses do find out that you are looking around, be honest about it. Remind them that you expressed a desire to grow in your career from the outset, but there was nothing available internally. The fact that you have been professional, continued to do a good job, and have conducted your search using your own time and resources should leave you in the clear. You want to stay on good terms with your current employer – they’re part of your professional network and future potential references.
Although it may feel a little shifty at times, remember that you’re not actually doing anything wrong. There are no laws against looking for work, and having up-to-date resumes and social media profiles are just part of sensible career management. Employers know this, and much of the talent that they look to hire is already working for someone else.