How To Keep Your Job Search Discreet.
Looking for a job while you already have one can be stressful, especially in the age of social media when privacy is scarce. You don’t want to rock the boat at your current company but you want to find the next great opportunity. Should you tell your boss you’re looking? How do you handle references? If you get an offer, is two weeks notice really enough? Since how you leave your current job can be as important to your career as how you perform in the next one, you need to know the answers to these questions.
The job market may be bleak, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck. If you’ve heard rumors of layoffs or you’ve simply outgrown your current job, it’s ok to look. Priscilla Claman, president of Career Strategies, Inc., a Boston-based firm offering career coaching and management services, says the job market is more active than most people think. “For some people it’s truly terrible but I know plenty of people who are leaving jobs and finding jobs.” Of course, searching for a job while trying to stay employed is tricky. But if you manage it skillfully, you’ll be able to move on without burning bridges, strengthening your professional relationships in the process, says Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at Egon Zehnder International and the author of Great People Decisions. Just follow these principles:
Do your homework
Fernández-Aráoz says that the first step to any job search is a thorough analysis of what you’re good at and what you love to do. Get clear on what you’re looking for in your next position. Then reality-check that with the market. Are there jobs out there that have the characteristics you’re searching for? Do you have the right qualifications? To help you assess, turn to trusted advisors such as friends in your field or search consultants.
Consider internal options first
Once you know what you want, start your search inside your company. “In my experience, all too often people don’t work enough on trying to redefine their job and career prospects with their current employer, and prematurely decide to start looking elsewhere,” says Fernández-Aráoz. There may be internal opportunities that will satisfy your needs, such as reshaping your job, moving to another team, or taking on a special project. If opportunities are limited or you’re certain you want out of the company, then take your search outside.
Keep it secret if necessary
Many people have to keep their search quiet. Perhaps you don’t have a strong relationship with your boss, or you worry about retribution from colleagues, or you fear you won’t find another position and don’t want to risk the embarrassment. In these cases, it’s prudent not to let anyone at your current employer know you’re looking. “If you do the secret job search, you have to be religious about not letting things out in your social media or using your office email,” says Claman. “It can be distracting to have everyone know that you are looking for something new,” says Fernández-Aráoz.
If there is a colleague you trust, however, consider sharing the news. Divulging your search to another person can help build momentum and make contacts. “This disclosure will clearly commit you to actually and properly look for a new opportunity,” says Fernández-Aráoz. It may also help with networking (the key to any successful job hunt). You can also casually mention your search to people not associated with your company — so long as you do it carefully. You don’t have to say, “Hi, I’m Amy Gallo and I’m looking for a job.” When you speak with potential employers or contacts, you can say something like, “I’m doing well at my current position and I’m always entertaining options for what’s next.” Don’t act desperate. “Never say I’m dying to get out of here. People don’t want people who are dying to get out of somewhere,” says Claman.
When to tell your boss
No boss likes to find out from someone else that one of her direct reports is looking for a new job. You should therefore tell your manager as soon as you’re comfortable doing so. There are risks: She may try to make it difficult for you to interview or give you a poor reference. She may treat you differently knowing you want to leave. But both Claman and Fernández-Aráoz note that there are several upsides to having a frank discussion with your boss. First, she may be able to help you identify opportunities inside or outside your organization. Second, the disclosure may facilitate the search process. “The right boss may make it easier for you to look for the right new job, and eventually may refer you to some attractive opportunities,” says Fernández-Aráoz. Third, you will build good will. Your boss will appreciate your honesty and the opportunity to plan ahead for your departure. All that said, if you know your manager will have a negative reaction, and is unlikely to support you, it’s best to wait until after you have an offer to inform her.
Read the full article by Amy Gallo for Business Insider here.