Looking for a job while currently employed? That’s one smart strategy most career experts would encourage you to do.
You open yourself to a lot of great opportunities outside of your existing job while ensuring you’re still getting a monthly paycheck. If you don’t get the new job, you still have your current position to fall back on. Just make sure your current employer doesn’t find out or else.
Job hunting, while you’re still employed, is such a high-risk undertaking. One wrong move and you can burn bridges and hurt your reputation. Your boss may see it as a lack of loyalty and respect to the company. Worst case scenario: your prospect employer declines your application, and your current employer starts taking steps to terminate you.
If you’re looking to leave your current job for new job opportunities somewhere else without causing complications, here are 10 crucial commandments to follow.
1. Your current employer gives you paycheck; You shall not let your job hunt interfere with your current job
Keep things separate – that’s the golden rule. Yes, you can do your search but make sure you still give your 100% at work.
Performing at or above your current performance level despite the fact you’re exiting is one way to demonstrate reverence and professionalism to your current employer. It’s not just about respecting who is giving you that paycheck every month. It’s about preserving your reputation too and being able to leave with your head held up high.
2. You shall not use your work hours for a job interview
Schedule your interviews before or after work – not during your lunch break.
Don’t let your employer question your loyalty and competence during your absence at obvious work hours. You may even consider using unused vacation days discreetly for an interview since you’d be losing these days anyway once you get a new job.
3. You shall not use your company resources for your job hunt
Never use your work computer, telephone, and other company resources to search job listings or respond to a prospective employer.
Again, demonstrate respect and professionalism even if you’re a few steps closer to leaving the company. And besides, all these activities can be traced, and you can’t afford to jeopardize your current position.
4. Remember to inform prospective employers about your current employment
Always tell recruiters, interviewers, or any HR Department representative you encounter that you’re currently employed.
Your prospective employer would appreciate if you tell them you’re looking for a new job, you’re trying to hide your job search activities from your current employer, and you want it to be kept confidential. They will likely respect your decision and will not contact your current employer for references and whatever purpose.
5. Honor your employer and coworkers by not badmouthing them
When going on interviews, your potential employer will undoubtedly ask why you’re leaving your current job. This isn’t the right time to badmouth your boss, the company, the management, and the issues that could be a problem of your creation.
Always respond positively. Rather than focusing on the negative aspect of what you’re trying to escape from, stress on the positive benefits of moving forward.
Instead of saying you’re lonely and you hate everyone in your office, tell the interviewer that you’re looking for an opportunity to work in more of a team environment.
6. You shall not tell anyone at work
Don’t share any information about your job search and impending departure with anyone at work – even to your closest colleagues, just to be safe. You know how loose lips can endanger your current and prospective job, making it difficult for you to leave on a good note.
Open up to people you truly trust, such as your parents, partner, siblings, and best friend. If you need to blast an announcement, do it one-on-one or over the phone, instead of using e-mail or messaging apps, which can be easy to spread and pass on.
Your goal is to let your boss and colleagues know you are job hunting (or you finally got hired somewhere else) only at the precise moment when you give notice.
7. You shall not vent on social media
When you’re in stealth mode, you should be aware that social media is your enemy. Don’t tell everyone at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networking sites that you are actively job hunting, even if you’re not connected with anyone from work. Keep the rants about your job dissatisfaction off social media too.
Again, you don’t want to start any rumors which may eventually reach your current boss. You also don’t want this to be seen as a “lack of discretion” on your part by your prospective employers.
8. You shall not go to job fairs
If you’re a stealth job seeker, job fairs aren’t the best channels. You may go to a job fair where your own company has a booth, or you might bump into somebody who knows you, your boss, and your boss’ boss. Additionally, the success rate here is low, while the risk of revealing your job-hunting status is high.
Never respond to blind job ads either, which do not specify the company’s name. It could be your employer!
9. You shall not use any of your co-workers/supervisors as references
Nobody knows your work ethics and capabilities better than the people in your workplace, including your boss and co-workers. But if one of these references get contacted while you’re looking for a new job (which you’re trying to keep under wraps), you’ll have a lot of explaining to do.
10. You shall not lie if you get busted
If your supervisor or manager finds out and confronts you, don’t lie. Just be honest about your intentions. Best case scenario: your frank discussion with your boss may lead to negotiations, like making your current job a better fit for you, getting an advancement or increase on your salary, or receiving other career perks that might make you want to stay.