6 tips for job hunting while you’re still employed

Posted by Amanda Augustine

August 11, 2014 @ 08:48 AM

Incorporate these tips into your job search and your employer will be none the wiser.

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As anyone who’s looked for a new job can attest, the job search is a job in itself. In fact, experts recommend that employed job seekers spend at least 15 hours a week on their job search (for the unemployed, it’s 30+!). Employed job seekers have the challenge of juggling a full-time job and a time-consuming search without causing any waves at work. If it’s time to leave your current job and find your next opportunity, use these tips to successfully conduct your job hunt on the sly. 

Don’t tip off your current employer

Looking for a job does not give you permission to slack off at work; your boss is sure to notice if your performance suddenly takes a nosedive. Remain a star performer at the office and try to schedule your job-search activities around your work schedule. Don’t include your current boss on your list of references – stick to former colleagues who already left the company or others you worked with in the past.

Stay off company equipment

Whether it’s your desktop computer at the office or a company-issued smart device or laptop, it’s best to save all of your job-hunting activities for your personal devices. Keep your smartphone handy in case you need to take a call during the workday or reply to an important email. Download useful apps like Job Search by TheLadders to your Android or iPhone so you can turn your commute time and lunch breaks into valuable job-search time. 

Don’t use your company email or phone number

Always list your personal email address and phone number on your resume and  job applications. Do the same for any social media accounts associated with your professional brand, such as your About.me or LinkedIn profile. Consider creating an email address that’s reserved exclusively for your job-search and networking activities to stay organized.

Invest in personal business cards

As a job seeker, you will find yourself attending more networking events than ever before. It’s important that you are able to hand out business cards with your personal contact information at these occasions. You can order a nice set from companies like VistaPrint and GoPrint for around $25 bucks, or opt for a greener solution by downloading an app to digitize your business cards.

Consider your wardrobe choices

Nothing says “I’m job hunting” like dressing to the nines for yet another “doctor’s appointment.”  If you have an interview during business hours, be smart about what you wear to the office so you don’t raise any red flags. Swap out your dressy interview shoes in favor of a ballet flat or casual loafer in the office, and trade your suit jacket for a cardigan or sports coat to prevent co-worker suspicion.

If your current company’s dress code is casual, but you’re interviewing at a very formal organization, you might have to do a complete outfit change. Do your homework and identify a coffee shop or restaurant located near the interview where you can safely make the switch.

Don’t let your social media habits derail your covert search

Don’t air your dirty laundry on social media. Refrain from posting comments or status updates bashing your current employer – those things have a way of getting found and could tip off your HR department. What’s more, you don’t want prospective employers to find those comments either – no one wants to hire a negative Nancy (or Ned). 

If you’re planning to overhaul your LinkedIn profile, first turn off your activity broadcasts so your connections – i.e. your current colleagues and boss – won’t notice. Also increase your security settings so you control what gets posted on your wall by others. The last thing you need is for your boss to learn you’re searching because your supportive friends wished you good luck before an interview.

Keep this advice in mind as you begin your job search and your search will remain under cover. Good luck!

Ready for a new challenge? Join TheLadders today for free and find your next great opportunity!

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Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

Topics: Ask Amanda, Job Search