After all, you won’t feel the pressure to pick any old job that you’re offered because you have to pay your mortgage, car loan, credit card bills or because the gap between jobs on your resume is growing wider and wider. That said, job hunting while you’re still working can present its own set of prickly problems. Here’s how to safely look for a new job — without risking the one you currently have.
Don’t be obvious. The last thing you want to do is alert your current boss that you are job hunting. Even if you already have one foot out the door, don’t be too obvious about your job searching efforts. Schedule your interviews before or after work, or if you have to, take a day off and try to bundle them together. After all, if you show up to work in a three-piece suit (and your normal attire is jeans and a tee shirt), you’re going to attract some very unnecessary attention at the office.
Don’t tell your coworkers. You might be tempted to tell your colleagues and work bestie about your job search. But sharing the news, even with a couple of close office friends, could potentially result in your boss finding out about your plans a lot sooner than you’d like. Some companies can even let you go if they find out that you’re seeking employment elsewhere. And at the very least, your boss can make your life miserable while you’re still there, forcing you to quit before you’re ready.
Don’t use office equipment. After a brutal meeting with your boss, you might be tempted to storm back to your cubicle and openly — and passive aggressively — troll job boards. Not a good idea. Your company most likely has tracking programs built into your computer or can search your history to see the sites you’ve been on. So save your job searching — and applying — for after work.
Review your references. It’s important to tell the hiring managers at the beginning of your job interviews that you’re currently employed. You definitely don’t want them to reach out to your boss for a reference, so find a few previous bosses or colleagues who are not directly connected to your company to provide references for you. Above all else, be sure that your prospective employer knows that you would like to keep your job search confidential.
Excel in your current job. Between searching through job ads, constructing meaningful cover letters and interviewing, your full focus is on finding a job. Don’t let your job performance suffer as a result, though. If you’ve been an exemplary employee in your current job, you don’t want the last few weeks before you resign to reflect poorly on your overall performance with the company. Even though job hunting can be a second job in and of itself, you want to make sure that you give your job 100% each day. That way, you can use the job as a reference in the future.
Job hunting while you have a current job can be tricky, but if you are cautious, careful, and above all, respectful, you’ll be successful — and not burn any bridges in the process.