Job hunting takes time. A lot of time. So trying to plan your next move while working full time is, to put it mildly, a challenge. It’s complicated by the need for discretion: When you’re looking for a new job you don’t want to jeopardize your current one by having your boss find out about your search.
It’s a difficult situation to be in, but one many people will have to face at some point in their career, especially today, when most everyone has social media profiles that share the goings-on of their lives with the world. In fact, social media is a key job-searching tool nowadays—publishing a blog or using Twitter can be effective ways to get the attention of recruiters. The problem is, it’s easy for your boss to check out your social media presence if they get an inkling that you’re looking.
One way to avoid getting your employer’s unwanted attention is by always keeping your profiles up to date. Constantly tweak them and always be networking, long before you start your search, suggests Paul Millard, managing partner of The Millard Group, a Middletown, Conn., technology search firm.
Also, think about how you’ll work with recruiters well in advance. Proactively seek out recruiters who specialize in jobs with titles similar to yours, and don’t waste time with those who can’t target the right jobs. A wide fishing expedition, Millard points out, is more likely to get the attention of your boss.
Also, be sure the recruiter knows you’re conducting a confidential search. “Know where your resume is at all times,” Millard says. Recruiters should always ask before they approach a company with your application.
Don’t Search at Work
One way to keep a low profile should be obvious: Don’t look for work at work. “Do your searching and preliminary interviews during non-business hours only,” says Millard. “If you get called by a company or recruiter, it’s perfectly fine to say ‘now is not the best time, but I’m very interested in the position.’” Always schedule calls before the day starts or after work. Also, don’t use your company email account during your job search, either.
Of course, there’s one exception to the not-on-company-time rule: When you’re looking for opportunities at your current employer. John Reed, senior executive director for staffing company Robert Half Technology, says it’s almost always worth exploring your options within your present company. “Often, people find that they just need to get the discussion rolling to get a promotion at their job,” he says. “But no one is going to begrudge you taking a new opportunity if it betters your situation.”
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