#GRADUANTOP10: How to job-hunt while working

By Mel Sim

Yes, you can search for a new job without jeopardising your current one.

The time may come when you realise you need/want a new job but you don’t want to quit before this happens. You can effectively job hunt while still being employed. In fact, being currently employed makes you more desirable to your future employee.

How do you search for a new job without word getting out or your boss/colleagues getting suspicious? Here are 10 tips.

#1 Do it on your own time
Job-hunting while employed is a matter of being organised – do it outside of working hours (after 6pm or during the weekend) and plan ahead with all the materials you need to apply ready to go. FYI - you shouldn’t be looking through job openings when that project deadline is looming.

#2 Don’t go public
Stay away from posting job search-related updates (like “Wish me luck!” or “Can’t wait for the new beginning of a new career!”). You never know who might see it (your boss, perhaps?) or who is connected to whom through the virtual network (a mutual friend of your boss, perhaps?).

#3 Schedule interviews outside of work hours
You can only have so many 9AM family emergencies before your colleagues and boss start to suspect something. Most companies are open to lunch or after-office interviews, especially if they know you are currently employed. If that company doesn’t want to accommodate to your request? You might want to think twice about joining.

#4 Don’t sabotage your current position
You are looking for a new job because you’re not interested in your current one anymore. Don’t be that person with a could not care less attitude or check out from responsibilities though. After all, you are still being hired (and paid!) by your current company.

#5 Don’t include your current boss or colleagues as reference
Imagine the awkward phone call when the prospective employer calls the current employer to ask about you! Instead, include a former boss or colleague. If you don’t have any, maybe someone you’ve worked with on a project (just make sure to let that person know and ask that he or she be confidential about it).

#6 Stay calm, be rational
That interview went well and you’re called for a second one. Don’t celebrate just yet! And don’t quit first either! You don’t have a new job until you have received and accepted the job offer and most importantly, you have signed the paperwork. Anything you do or say until then may jeapordise your chances or your current job.

#7 Don’t use company resources
Your company email address, company-issued laptop and company phone is off limits when it comes to your job search – you never know if you’re being monitored (and it is all within reason for a company to do so). Plus, it wouldn’t look too good with a future employer if you’re using the company email address to send in your resume.

#8 Be diplomatic
What if you’re asked why you are job-hunting when you’re currently employed? It is not the time to bad mouth your current company or boss; instead, go for the diplomatic answer that is “It is time for me to move on from my current role to something where I can grow and learn further, which is not possible in my current company.”

#9 Be smart
Don’t go to job fairs where your company has a booth. Don’t blast email announcement to tell clients and peers that you’re job-hunting and if they have any leads. Don’t respond to job openings that don’t specify the employer (it may be your own company!). Don’t come in a suit when you normally dress casual because you have an interview later (change after).

#10 Be gratefu
Congratulations – you found a new job! This is not the time to burn bridges at your current company though. Send your boss a resignation letter and work out how to hand over in a timely and effective manner. Be courteous and professional till you walk out of the door – you never know when you might need a reference... or even apply for a new role in your old company!

Photo by Burst on Unsplash

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