Conventional wisdom says it’s best to look for a job when you already have one. Potential employers tend to prefer candidates who are gainfully employed, and it’s nice to have the stability of a steady gig while jumping through the hoops of networking, sending out resumes, and interviewing. But as Payscale.com writer Michelle Kruse writes, looking for work when you have a job can make you feel guilty, like you’re sneaking around.
Fortunately, Kruse shares ways to get past this with a terrific post titled “5 Tips for Searching for a Job While Still Employed.” It’s excellent advice for anyone trying to fit interviews into lunch breaks and generally balance work with looking for work. Read on to see what she suggests.
1. Don’t Advertise It — Since your present employer may find it “hurtful, disloyal, or even traitorous” that you’re getting ready to split, Kruse recommends keeping your job search to yourself. To avoid uncomfortable situations, tell only those those colleagues you can really trust.
2. Stay Attentive — Just because you have one foot out the door, it doesn’t mean you should let your work slide. It might signal to your bosses you’re looking around for something else, and beyond that, it’ll hurt your chances of getting a good recommendation later on.
3. Ask Potential Employers to Be Discreet — When you reach out to companies and start scheduling interviews, tell them you’d like to keep your search confidential. This will ensure they don’t, say, call your present employer for a reference or accidentally spill the beans in some other way.
4. Act Naturally — Many of us don’t have jobs that require the kinds of clothes you wear on a job interview. So when you start showing up to the office in suits — and doing things like disappearing into the hallway for long phone calls — people are going to start whispering. Kruse recommends keeping an interview outfit in the car and trying to behave as normally as possible.
5. Don’t Search on Company Time — This one can be tricky, since potential employers might want you to interview during regular business hours. This isn’t always the case (as Kruse points out, some firms will “see it as a poor reflection on your character and work ethic if you ditch work for an interview”), but in any case, you should shoot for morning interviews or find ways to work them into your lunch breaks. Also, Kruse warns against using company resources (phones, computers, etc.) to look for work. It’s unethical, and you’ll risk leaving a “digital trail that could cost you your job.”