The best time to look for a job is when you already have one. Why?
There is no rush. You can take your time and find a position that is a great fit. But you obviously need to be careful. Life will be at best awkward and possibly even really bad if your current company finds out that you are looking! Below are 7 tips that will make the process more discreet and effective.
Tip 1. A Better Fit?
Ask yourself, why do I want a new job? Is it your current company you don’t like or is it your current job? If you like your company but just aren’t happy with what you’re doing, it makes sense to look at what’s available internally and see if there is something that might be a better fit. Sometimes a lateral move is all you need to find a new job that you love. You may even be able to talk to your boss about transferring or it may be easier to approach someone in the other department on a confidential basis.
Tip 2. Is it Money?
What if the answer to “why do I want a new job?” is that you like your company and job but feel you are underpaid or that you want more responsibility or a clear path to promotion? If you gave your notice and they made a counter offer, what would it take to get you to stay? Maybe you can make those things happen without getting another offer. Can you have a conversation about your salary, backed up by supporting evidence of what others are paying? Can you start a conversation about what it will take to get promoted? And we don’t mean that part of that conversation should be, “if I don’t get a raise I’m leaving.” Remember, the idea is to be discreet.
Tip 3. Set Up Job Alerts
Some websites are search engines for jobs – Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com are two of the most popular. They aggregate job listings from across the Internet into one place, making your job search simpler and more discreet. Besides search, most also offer a useful feature that stores your search parameters and then emails the updated results each morning. You can search for all software developer positions by criteria like geography, salary, a certain company. This provides targeted, available jobs to your inbox on whatever schedule you want (daily, weekly, etc.). And knowing that when a new job comes up you’ll automatically hear about it, will cut down on the temptation to search on your own at your desk during lunch or on your break – a surefire way to inadvertently get caught!
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Tip 4. Send Private Messages Through LinkedIn
Leverage your LinkedIn network (you have one, right?). You obviously don’t want to post publicly on your LinkedIn profile that you’re looking for a new job. But do privately message the appropriate people in your network to let them know you are looking for a new opportunity. Explain that you need to keep this under the radar and super confidential. However, if you are unemployed or your assignment is ending and there is no secrecy – then let everyone know that you are looking as loud and clear as possible!
Tip 5. Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. Your network can’t help you find a job if they don’t know the details of what you do. Do you have new skills or responsibilities in your current job that aren’t included in your profile? Add them. Is there anyone that can write a recommendation for you? Again, it is often your current job that is overlooked. There may be a current coworker, boss, or even client who knows your work. Ask them. Also, since people will be viewing your profile, now’s also a good time to proof, proof, and proof again! Make sure there are no typos or other mistakes. Your profile is an online resume and one mistake can make the difference.
Tip 6. Interview on Your Time
Most interviews take place during regular business hours. This can be a challenge if you are currently working. But as tempting as it might be, don’t sneak off or fake a doctor’s appointment. Use your vacation time or conduct an interview over lunch. It’s best to work the interviews into your schedule without missing anything or attracting attention. It’s not right to cheat your current employer and you’re more likely to be found out.
Tip 7. Use a recruiter
If you want to be discreet, have someone else do the work for you! Find a good staffing firm, give them your resume, and talk to a recruiter about what you’re looking for. With someone else doing the legwork for you there is less chance that you’ll be discovered. For one thing, you won’t have companies calling you directly during working hours. You’ll have more control over when and where you discuss your job search. Recruiters can be very discreet!
Tip 8. Leave on Good Terms
Walking out of a job that makes you unhappy may feel good initially but can cause long term problems to your career. Don’t wreck your reputation for a moment’s satisfaction. Plus, it’s the right thing to do! Two week’s notice is the standard but be sure you know what your contract states. And if leaving with only that much notice would put your boss or department in a bind, then try and give more. If they choose to let you leave sooner, so be it, but don’t burn any bridges by giving in to short term gratification over long term success. You never know when you will come in contact with someone that remembers you walking out.