Job Search Success

Searching For a Job ... When You Already Have One

By Lana Johnson on November 20, 2018


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting record high voluntary quit rates among American employees. Talent is on the move, seeking new opportunities and more job satisfaction. If you find yourself ready to make a change, you might be wondering how to do it while you're currently working. We've got five ideas for you.

Even though the job market is hot, if you find yourself currently employed but ready to move on, conduct your job search in a way that allows you to retain relationships and respect. In other words, don’t “burn any bridges.”

Consider the following as you get started:

Reflect. What is really causing your dissatisfaction? Can you fix what’s wrong without making a total job change? Many people switch jobs and companies only to find they're still unhappy when “the grass isn’t greener.” Examine the reasons you want to make a move to see if you can salvage your current situation. If you can’t salvage it, at least you can move forward with confidence, knowing you’re changing for the better.

Prepare. Whether you’re working or not, we always encourage job seekers to have your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile updated before you start applying for jobs.

Recruiters will definitely look at your LinkedIn profile, so invest the time to optimize it and make your profile as current as possible. Before you start making changes, make sure you’ve disabled the feature that notifies your network when changes are made on your profile. This is easy to do and allows you to discreetly make updates.

Keep it Quiet. There are definitely instances in which you can be open and honest with your boss about your desire to move on. This, of course, depends upon the relationship you have with your manager. If you’re able to be open, your manager might keep you on while you conduct a search, easing the financial strain you might otherwise feel. The manager benefits too, as you're still getting work done while they find a replacement for you.

This open, honest scenario, however, is probably the exception rather than the rule. Understandably, many job seekers want to keep their search confidential until they're ready to give notice. Here are a few tips for keeping things quiet:

  • Don’t post your resume on job boards. If your boss suspects that you might be looking, finding your resume on any of the job boards is a surefire way to confirm the suspicion. Recruiters might also start calling you and the more people who know you’re looking, the more risk you run that your current company will find out. Focus instead on applying for jobs one by one and focus on careful networking.
  • Don’t tell your work colleagues. This seems obvious but you will be tempted to tell your closest friends at work. Realize that this opens the door for gossip and for your manager to find out. Keep it to yourself.
  • Don’t announce your job search on social media. Don’t go on Facebook and shout out that you’re on the market. You never know who is looking at you online.
  • Emphasize to corporate recruiters, agency recruiters, and hiring managers that your search is confidential. Recruiters and hiring managers should absolutely respect this request.  
  • Plan for the worst. What will you say if your boss finds out? Honesty is the best policy but the truth is, your company could let you go if they know you're looking. Do you have the means to cover yourself financially if your boss lets you go unexpectedly?
Conduct Your Search on Your Own Time, Using Your Own Tools. This is important for two reasons.

First, you should be respectful of your current employer, even if you feel like you have “one foot out the door.” Second, any information you create or share on a company-owned computer or network is open to inspection by the company.

All interviews should be scheduled before work, after work, or during lunch.  Besides being discreet, this allows you to focus on the interview vs. being worried you’ll get “caught.” Prospective employers should understand and respect your need for discretion and the fact that you’re currently working. If you absolutely must interview during working hours, use a personal or vacation day.

Never conduct your search using your company’s phone or network. All emails should be to a personal email address; never use your work email. All phone calls should go to your cell phone; never use the company’s phone. The last thing you need is for your boss to find out you’ve been using company resources to find a new job.

Network Carefully. The #1 way job seekers find their next opportunity is through networking. If you’re currently employed, how can you network discreetly? Share your desire to move on only with those you find to be trustworthy and make sure they know your search is confidential.

Click here for more helpful job search information from Advanced Resources.

You can also click here to browse Advanced Resources’ open jobs, set up job alerts, or to upload your resume.

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