The Dos and Don'ts of Job Hunting When You Already Have a Job
Looking for a new job while you still have one can be an incredibly-precarious situation. Some employers may understand your situation, such as if you are graduating college and migrating from a part-time job to a full one. Others may view the move as an insult; they assume you do not think very well of them and that you resent your work situation.
Regardless of how accurate these hypothetical scenarios are, you are going to want to conduct your search professionally, cautiously and intelligently. Heed the following Dos and Don’ts to increase your chances of having a positive job search experience while avoiding burning bridges as much as possible.
DO Review Your Employer’s Policies on the Matter
Some companies have explicit policies about interviewing for other positions, especially if they are with competitors. Those that do not may have hints in the wording of their employee policies, such as saying, “We strongly encourage employees to speak with HR before considering vacating their position.”
Pay particular attention to your work contract since this will dictate your job mobility options.
DON’T Inform Your Boss or Your Co-Workers
With very few exceptions, your direct superior will not be happy to learn that you intend to quit and work somewhere else. Even if you are making an important career move, such as the graduation scenario described in the intro, they may feel indignant or offended.
Likewise, do not inform HR or any co-workers of your intentions, either, since word gets around quickly in an office setting.
DO Update Your Resume and Your Linked-In Profile
Your first course of action when job searching is to ensure that your resume is current, complete and has informative descriptions for your most relevant positions and duties. Feel free to transfer this information to Linked-In since having an up-to-date profile is not a sign of any intent in particular. Avoid too many other activities on Linked-In, though, since these can alert employers to your intentions.
DON’T Use Company Time or Resources to Apply to Other Jobs
Never perform job search activities “on the clock” since doing so is essentially stealing. Likewise, never use company resources, including their internet connection, to perform your job search. Company cars, office stationary, company email addresses, copiers and so on are included in this caveat. Not only is doing so unethical, but it can be a direct insult to your employer and a red flag to new potential employers if they notice.
DON’T Post Your Resume on Publicly-Visible Job Boards or Listing Websites
These services can be accessed by anyone at any time, including your employer.
DO Communicate to Interviewers That You Do Not Wish Them to Contact Your Employer
If your interviewer states that they must check your work references, ask them to only do so if you are being strongly considered for the position. You can frequently find another co-worker or manager to vouch for you in the event that you suspect your boss would sabotage your prospects.
DON’T Complain About Your Current Job or Insult Your Boss in an Interview
Turnover can be high in many industries, and more often than not the fault is on the worker. An experienced interviewer listening to someone complain may give your employer the benefit of the doubt instead of you, inferring that your work ethic is poor. Regardless, complaining and finger-pointing are negative behaviors that can be red flags to interviewers.
DO Follow Company Policy and Be Courteous with Your Resignation
Maturity and professionalism are more important than petty revenge. Also, you never know when past behaviors come back to haunt you.
Want to Know More About Job Hunting When You Already Have a Job?
You can read advice for this situation along with other job-seeking tips by reading our other blog entries.