There has probably never been an easier time in workforce history to look for a new position while you are still employed. Beyond the fact that companies are clamoring for quality talent amidst tough recruiting challenges, many individuals are currently working remote or hybrid work arrangements which gives them a privacy advantage that job seekers in the past did not have.
Seeking new employment while you are still employed relieves you of that “out of work pressure” as well as the financial strain of living without a paycheck. But job hunting while on the job still requires discretion even in this age of workday flexibility. You still need to maintain that delicate balance between sharing enough information about yourself to entice a prospective employer, but not so much that you’ve left yourself vulnerable to termination.
KNOW YOUR TOP TWO REASONS
Before you do anything, make sure you know your motivation for wanting something new. Is it the compensation…the benefits…the schedule…the duties….the lack of challenge…all the media hype about everyone changing jobs? What is it going to take to make you happy and career satisfied?
If it is compensation, visit sites like Payscale.com and Salary.com to know your worth in the current marketplace. Arm yourself with good information.
Are there opportunities at your current employer? Many organizations will work hard to “fix” conditions of a dissatisfied worker rather than lose him or her. Be familiar with what positions are currently being recruited for by your employer. Are you or interested in any one of them or are you a potential fit?
Although employers rarely promise loyalty or job security, they still expect these same traits from their workforce. That’s why one of the best things you can do for yourself when you decide to make a move is to tell no one! Not a former colleague, not someone in your building, not your workplace bestie…and certainly not your boss. Don’t imply you’re looking on social media or put your itchiness to leave in any kind of email. If you can’t keep it a secret, don’t expect anyone else to do it, either. Of course, the exception to this rule are your references, but even select those with great care.
Make sure you have a new separate personal email account that you have not used at your current place of employment. Use this new email exclusively for job hunting, for correspondence and job boards. Never ever use a work email or one connected with your social media accounts. Protect your confidentiality by posting resumes to job boards anonymously. Make your activity stream on LinkedIn private and turn off broadcasts. Don’t list your current employer by name on your resume. Instead, describe it as a large financial institution, a well known consumer products company, etc. You don’t want to run the risk of being outed by your employer if they periodically scan boards to see which employees update their resumes or profiles to determine if there is a flight risk on board. When networking, do your best to review levels of connections to see if a shared connection might spill the beans.
UP YOUR LINKEDIN GAME
More than ever, recruiters – both agency and corporate – are mining LinkedIn profiles for good candidates. The stronger the profile, the more likely you are to be contacted. Be sure current key words in your field are in your overview or job description. Have at least 3 recommendations from business associates. How old is your profile photo? When was the last time you gave your profile a good look from the prospective employer’s viewpoint? When people wonder why they are not recruited more, it is usually because their profiles have grown stale or out-of-date.
TIME YOUR CONVERSATIONS AND INTERVIEWS
Just because you could do a job interview because you are in a work-from-home situation doesn’t mean should. Try to time things around lunch or after hours. The person you are interviewing with will realize you may be using company time to do personal business and that says something about your work ethic.
Let a prospective employer know that you will offer a current employment reference once you have a job offer, but do have other references lined up who know you and your work well for them to contact in the interim. If you are working with a staffing firm or recruiter, tell them you want your confidentiality maintained; ask to be made aware of all prospective opportunities before your resume is referred.
DON’T MENTALLY CHECK OUT FROM YOUR PRESENT JOB OR BURN ANY BRIDGES|
A lack of attention, missed deadlines, silence at meetings or zoom calls are all cues people can read to sense your discontent. If you feel you can’t concentrate, take a few vacation or PTO days to focus on your search. Finish up projects – don’t be that person who gets a new job and leaves everyone in a lurch when they depart. The business world and specific industries are often more connected than you realize, especially in this social age – reputations follow you – keep yours top of the line. You never know when you’ll be working with a former colleague or manager again.
These are simple, basic tips – but too many job seekers get careless. They get antsy to make a move and their “sloppiness” can change the balance in a good work relationship or derail an impending opportunity for a promotion. Upward career mobility almost always involves some degree of risk, but conducting a job search with careful, intentional discretion, lets you move forward without falling flat on your face. It can be the difference between a graceful exit and a door slammed in your face.
If you are ready to make a CAREER MOVE, check out Lloyd’s latest job posts.