Keeping an On-the-Job Job Hunt Under Wraps
Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the results from their latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. One of the interesting trends tracked in this report is the number of quits, or how many people voluntarily left their jobs over the course of a certain month. In December, that number stood at 2.2 million, up from 1.8 million when the recession ended in June 2009.
That means more employed professionals are looking to test the waters. Are you among them?
If so, be smart. Looking for a job when you already have one is very different than doing so when you are out of work. The last thing you want to do is clue your current employer in on your plans and jeopardize your position.
Here’s how to conduct an on-the-job job hunt the right way:
Don’t spill the beans. I feel like I shouldn’t even have to mention this, but it’s too important not to repeat. Do not let anyone at work know of your job search. No one. Not even your best work friend. We all know how quickly office gossip can spread, and no rumor’s juicier than the one about the person who’s about to walk out the door.
Do it at home. Don’t write your resume on your office computer or use your desk phone to return a hiring manager’s call. It’s tempting but highly unethical. It’s also a good way to give away your intentions. We’ve all heard of job seekers who’ve accidentally left their resume at the department printer.
Also keep in mind that many companies monitor their worker’s Internet use and phone calls. So, your on-the-clock activities may not be as secret as you hope.
Play it safe online. One of the first things many professionals do when launching a job search is update their LinkedIn profile. But a flurry of sudden activity — especially if it’s been a while since you last logged on — is a sure sign you’re preparing to enter the job market. Go into your profile settings and turn off your activity broadcasts so your manager and coworkers are not alerted every time you adjust your profile.
Use the same level of caution on other social networks. And, while you’re at it, ask friends and family who may know of your search to avoid discussing it online.
If you post your resume on a job board or Craigslist, omit or hide details that might reveal your identity. Many sites allow you to upload your resume with privacy filters in place.
Be upfront with potential employers. If a hiring manager calls you for an interview, let him or her know you’re currently employed and would prefer to meet before or after work. Most will understand and be happy to accommodate your request. This will also save you from having to devise repeated excuses for leaving work in the middle of the day (“Boss, can you believe I have another dentist appointment?”).
It’s also worth reiterating that the hiring manager should not contact anyone at your current firm when conducting reference checks. Don’t assume he or she knows to avoid this.
Stay focused. Above all, remember that you still have a commitment to your current employer to work hard and perform the duties of your position. Don’t let thoughts of greener pastures distract you. Also keep in mind that you may need your colleagues to serve as references down the road. Or you may even wish to return to your employer. Leaving on good terms ensures those doors remain open.
Above all, looking for a job when you already have one requires discretion. If word gets out, you may be on the hunt out of necessity rather than choice. To this end, consider enlisting the help of a recruiter, who can work confidentially on your behalf to distribute your resume and uncover employment opportunities. Remember, mum’s the word!
What has been your on-the-job job hunt experience?