Job hunting is stressful, but it can be especially stressful to people who are working a full-time job while searching for another. In fact, searching for a new job itself often feels like a full-time endeavor, not to mention that job searching can also change how your employer views you. Your boss may think that you aren’t happy in your current line of work, or he or she may think you are ungrateful for your current job. However, there are several things you can do to ensure that your boss does not find out that you’re looking for work during your regular work hours.
Don’t Shirk Your Duties
One key sign that you aren’t happy at your current job is that you suddenly fall behind in productivity. Be sure that you manage your work load carefully and still finish your requisite projects while searching for a new job. A decline in productivity might alert your boss that something is amiss. Failure to meet productivity could also get you into trouble at your current position. You do not want to get fired or quit your current job until you have something else lined up.
Don’t List Your Current Boss on Your Job Applications
Most employers will check your references once they’ve decided to seriously consider you for a position. This means, they will call the references you listed on your job application and/or resume. If you’ve listed your boss or human resources manager, then this is the point of contact the new job will use for a reference. If at all possible, list a trusted co-worker or past employer as a reference. This will help to ensure your secret is safe until you are offered another position.
Don’t Leave a Paper Trail
When looking for work, some jobseekers print out copies of their resume or print job postings from the web. Do not do this at work. A stack of printed job listings will undoubtedly alert your current employer that you are seeking employment elsewhere. Instead, use your personal electronic device to search for job openings. Rather than print out job listings, save them electronically via your smart phone or personal tablet. Then, read through the listings during your lunch break or when you return home.
Keep Quiet Around Co-Workers
Your colleagues are people to make small talk with, but don’t tell them anything you don’t want to hear repeated. If you are unhappy in your current position and want to make a job change, keep it to yourself until you’ve been offered another job. Co-workers have a habit of repeating what they hear in the break room or in the office. Gossip and hearsay can spread pretty quickly, which can inevitably wind up in the ears of higher management. Here are several tips for keeping your co-workers in the dark about your job search:
- Answer calls from potential employers only when alone in the office.
- If you are not free to take a call, let the voicemail pick it up.
- Do not tell co-workers about weekend plans to attend job fairs, interviews, or other job-related events.
Apply from Home
Yes, it’s fine to search job listings on your phone while at work. However, it is probably best to not apply to those listings until you return home. Applying to jobs at work from your office computer is risky. Some places of employment monitor the sites you use while at work. If you are found to be constantly visiting job search portals and sites, then your employer will undoubtedly find out what you are up to. If you have a company computer that is not monitored by your employer, only visit job sites while in the office with the door closed. Do not leave job search engines open in areas where co-workers and supervisors can see them.
Don’t List Your Employer’s Contact Information
Your resume and job applications require you to list your email address and phone number. This assures you can be promptly contacted by an employer who wants to interview you. One sure way to alert human resources that you’re looking for work is to have a potential employer contact the HR office searching for you. Rather than list your work email or your employer’s phone number, be sure to list your personal email and personal cell number as your contact information.
Do Not Post on Social Media
Some people will post job search messages on social media when they begin a new job hunt. Do not do this, not even if your boss doesn’t follow you on social media. A co-worker who reads your post could respond to it or share it with others whom you don’t want to share the info with.
Act as Though Nothing is Wrong
Some workers get so caught up in the job search that they are late for meetings while searching employment listings. Other workers call out of work to attend job fairs. Yes, you want to actively search for work, but don’t act out of the ordinary. Calling into work three days out of five will definitely alert your employer that something is wrong. It will also make you look inept and unprofessional. If you have multiple job interviews, try to schedule them for the same day so that you won’t have to miss much work time.
Don’t Inquire About Quitting Until You Are Ready to Quit
Some workers make the mistake of asking end of employment questions too early. For instance, if you know you want to cash out your retirement plan early, wait until you’ve received a new job offer before inquiring with human resources. Do not ask too many questions at once about exit interviews, a leave of absence, or cleaning out your desk. Such questions will let the employer know that you don’t plan on staying much longer. Instead, just behave as you normally do. Wait until after your new job is lined up before you contact human resources about changing your address and cleaning out your desk. Yes, you should give a two to four weeks notice to your current employer. This shows you are courteous and professional. However, you are not required to let them know the details or your job hunt while you are still in the early stages of your search.
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How to Job Hunt at Work Without Your Boss Finding Out