It’s never easy to search for a new job while you’re already employed. Professionals often find themselves having to sneak around to send out resumes, go on interviews, or speak with potential employers.
While you shouldn’t feel trapped in your current position, it’s very important that you conduct your job search with integrity and skill. Consider these tips when searching for a new job and avoid having to compromise your current paycheck. —Aisha Taylor
Don’t let a change in attire give you away. If your employer doesn’t know about your desire for something new, it’s usually a dead giveaway if you’re dressed in a business suit in an otherwise casual work environment. This is likely not an issue for those who already come to work in business attire, but if your current dress code is business-casual, bosses and co-workers are likely to become suspicious if you show up one day in a three-piece suit. The best way to handle this is to wear pieces that easily transition into appropriate attire, such as slacks and shirts that can easily be paired with a blazer and heels (for women) or a tie (for men) to evolve into something more suitable for an interview.
Keep up the good work. Professionals often begin to slack in their current role while seeking other job opportunities—a huge mistake, particularly if you haven’t even received a new job offer yet. It’s very important that you don’t allow your performance to suffer in your current job just because you’ve begun to search for something new. It’s very likely that your potential employer will request a reference from your current employer, and you wouldn’t want your reputation to become tarnished because you stopped working hard. As long as your current job is your bread and butter, continue to do your best work until something else comes along. Your consistent performance will pay off in the long run.
Don’t job search while on the clock. The difficultly of juggling a job search with your current job duties can make it tempting to pursue opportunities while you’re on the clock. While most may hope not to get caught, there are times when persons have been disciplined or even terminated for doing “other business” on company time and property. Always try to schedule interviews during lunch, after work or on scheduled time away from the office. Never use your company e-mail or letterhead to apply for a new job. It’s also not wise to use social networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to pursue employment while you should be working. Use your time outside of the office to search for openings, reach out to potential employers, and network with other professionals. While it might not be as convenient to search on your own time, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Exercise professionalism at all times. Ultimately, it’s always wise to exercise professionalism, integrity, and respect when looking for and securing a new job. It’s never cool to bad mouth your current employer during an interview or to your existing co-workers, regardless of how much you dislike your job or your boss. You don’t want to be seen as a complainer or one who isn’t loyal. Also, whenever possible, you should always give at least two weeks notice before leaving your current employer. It’s best to allow time for transition and most employers will understand this common courtesy. Once you’ve accepted a position and received a formal offer, schedule a time to meet with your current employer to thank them for the opportunity to have worked there. It’s tacky and cold to just send a resignation letter without first having a conversation. And of course, you’ll want to leave with dignity and class. After submitting a well-written letter of resignation, take the time to thank your colleagues and share contact information. You never know how those relationships might help your career in the future.