This is not an original statement, but it is the truth. Therein lies the dilemma. It is very difficult to mount a full blown job search while you are employed simply because you have an obligation to use the full complement of your abilities to accomplish your current responsibilities.
Of course, you don’t want to wait until you are unemployed to search for a new position. We should approach this job search issue with the full awareness that someone will notice the change in your actions, routine behavior and appearance. So you should avoid any awkwardness, and strive to keep job-searching activities separate from your daily work.
Laura McMullen wrote an article in US News and World Report entitled, 10 Ways Your Boss Knows You’re Job Searching. She says that you may think you’re so smooth – the James Bond of covert job searching. Where Bond used wrist-mounted dart guns and camera-implanted rings, you have deceptive “dentist appointments” and a conveniently angled computer monitor to conceal secret résumé tweaking.
Five (5) of the behaviors resonated with me because of my career as an HR Director. Here are my top five, but you can read the original article here:
1. Your boss received your résumé from a contact of a contact. You’re networking – yes! But you’re networking so thoroughly within your industry that word gets back to your boss. When sharing your résumé and other job-search materials with new and old professional contacts, explicitly state that your hunt is confidential, Foss says.
2. Your co-worker blabbed. “I’m always amazed at how many people tell their co-workers about their job search,” Kay says. “That’s one of the worst things you can do.” Ideally, you wouldn’t tell any co-workers, but you may have to if you want them to serve as references. In that case, Kay says, “you need to pick people who you really trust, who don’t have a hidden agenda and who won’t let it slip.”
3. You’re taking four-hour lunches and have way too many dentist appointments. Yes, it is that obvious when you’re interviewing elsewhere and go MIA, with or without a flimsy excuse. Schedule phone interviews for personal hours, like a lunch break, and take vacation or PTO days for lengthy in-person interviews. “That way, you’re not feeling pressured during the interview to get back to work – which can affect how you handle the interview – and you’re not stealing time from your employers,” Kay says.
4. You dressed 10 times nicer than usual yesterday. People (read: your boss) will notice if you go from sporting a uniform of jeans and a T-shirt to showing up in a tailored suit on interview day. This is all the more reason to take the day off from work to interview, but if you don’t, dress as usual at the office. And then, Foss says, “leave the premises, and stop in a McDonald’s parking lot on the way to the interview to change.”
5. Your company’s human resources staff saw your résumé on a job board. When you post your résumé to a job board, there’s a chance your current employer could see it. In fact, Foss says many HR staffers and managers regularly search for their company names within job board submissions specifically to see if their employees are looking for jobs.
Bonus: You left your résumé in the freaking printer! Yes, it happens. Print all application materials from home, the library, a print shop – anywhere besides your current company’s office.
Job-searching employees often send these subtle signals without expecting their managers to notice, but they do.
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