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When Switching Jobs, Remember These 5 Things

job button on computer
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The job market is pretty tight right now, so most days you’re probably thankful just to have a job that pays. But somewhere down the road that may not be enough. You may find yourself looking for a new position, even as you continue to hold down your current one. There are certain things you should keep in mind when that time comes.

First of all, the best time to conduct a job search is while you still have a job. You can maintain your regular stream of income while you comfortably find what you need to enjoy your work life again. Also, if you have a job, you’re usually more desirable to an employer. The hiring manager will be more confident that you’re a good hire and that you’re up-to-date in your industry. Plus, if you have a job, you’ll have more leverage when it comes time to negotiate the terms of the new job.

But looking for a job while you’re on the job has some risks. If you go about it the wrong way, you not only won’t get that new job, you may also end up fired from your current one. To avoid these risks, , you should remember these five important things:

Keep Quiet

It’s best not to tell anyone you work with that you’re looking for a new job. Even if you don’t tell your supervisor, word may find a way to get out. If you do tell your supervisor, you should still keep it quiet from your co-workers so the environment doesn’t get poisoned and you can leave on good terms. It’s okay to ask companies you interview with to keep your job hunt confidential. Just be careful that you also don’t include anyone you currently work with as a reference. And don’t post about your job search on social media or let your friends ask you about it publicly.

Continue to Excel at Work

Even if you feel like your days there are numbered, continue to do good work at your current job. If it takes a while to get a new position, you don’t want to risk earning a bad reputation or letting things slip and subsequently looking bad to a future employer. You also don’t want your current employer to decide they can cut you from the payroll because the quality of your work is lacking. No matter what happens, it’s likely you will run into these people in your future work life and you want to make sure you haven’t ruined your reputation in the process.

Not on the Company Dime

The most unethical thing you can do during your job search, aside from lying about your qualifications, is to conduct the search on the company dime. You should be using your personal time, not work time, to look for a new job. That means you need to establish a routine of scheduling job-hunt time outside the office. This includes job interviews. Do your best to schedule interviews before or after your workday or during your lunch break. Otherwise, use a vacation day.

You should also not be using company equipment for your search. Even if you’re on a break, you shouldn’t be searching job sites on your work computer. Your company can track that and see where you’ve been. Include your home address, personal email and phone on your résumé, instead of your work contact information.

Be Honest

Honesty is definitely the best policy in this process. It’s a cliché for a reason. If your boss finds out you’ve been looking for a new job, don’t try to lie about it or cover it up. You may even end up getting a better deal at your current job out of it. Also be honest with potential employers. If you’re keeping your search confidential, tell them that. And if they want to know why you’re leaving, rather than being negative about your current work experience, be honest about what you want from a job and how you think a new company can provide it. Be sincere and positive, and do so without bashing your current employer.

Choose Wisely

Finally, throughout the process, make sure you are choosing wisely. First, decide if you really are unhappy enough at your job to leave. Explore the possibilities of getting what you need from your current employer before you give yourself the stress of a long job search. Then, choose carefully where and how you search for a new job, if you’re trying to keep it quiet at your current job. You should always have an updated LinkedIn profile, which isn’t suspicious because everyone has one, but don’t post your résumé on job boards. Organizations search the job boards and will quickly find you there selling your services.

Next, you have to choose carefully where you apply. Since you’re employed, you have the luxury of only applying to jobs that you’d be willing to give up your current position for. You don’t have to apply to everything. Some companies post job openings anonymously, so you have to be careful you’re not applying to a job at your own organization. And do your research. You don’t want to go through all this trouble just to end up somewhere worse off than the place you just left.

Photo by Aaron Savage
Photo by Aaron Savage
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