It often happens. You take a job that seems perfect for you, but after a while in that position, you find yourself with itchy feet and looking for more of a challenge. Either that or you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you have been told your employment contract will not be renewed due to budget cuts or company restructuring. What happens next is you need to get focused on finding a new job. But how do you do that without tipping off your current employer? We’ve got some stealthy tips!
How to Find a New Job While Employed
Let’s keep it real: most of us will start looking for a new job while still employed. Since job search can drag on, it’s best not to rush with filling a resignation letter.
On the other hand, if you are casually browsing, rather than actively searching, you don’t want your colleagues or the boss to know either.
Here’s how to find a new job discreetly:
- Update your LinkedIn profile
- Focus on your personal brand
- Keep your resume private
- Attend networking events
- Arrange stealth job interviews
- Don’t come too over-dressed to the office
- Stay discrete during work hours
Now let’s dig into these!
1. Update Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a great place to connect with recruiters, browse and apply for jobs, plus network with peers.
The best part? You can run a stealth job search by using some of the platform’s privacy features such as:
- Open to Work badge — shown to users with a premium LinkedIn recruiter account (but not people in your organization).
- Privacy for joined groups — if you’ve joined several networking or job search groups, you can configure to exclude this information from your profile or recent activity.
- Configure who sees your profile edits — if you’ve been in the same company for a while, your profile probably got “rusty”. But major updates can signal your current employer that you are looking for another job. LinkedIn lets you opt out from sharing profile changes with your connections.
So go on and update your LinkedIn summary. Then add several new accomplishments for your current position. Update training, certification, and accolades. Lastly, re-optimize the skills section on your profile to better reflect your current skillset.
2. Build up Your Personal Brand
While going fully public about your job search on social media is a big no-no, when you are still employed, you should discreetly ramp up your activity on LinkedIn and across other assets.
Your LinkedIn profiles give you the ability to build a positive image for a prospective employer without directly telling that you are ready for a career change.
Here are some quick tips for building a stronger personal brand on LinkedIn:
- Share posts about your latest projects and accomplishments on your feed.
- Curate industry news and best practices with your commentary.
- Participate in industry discussions to show your expertise.
- Ask select members of your network to provide you with profile references (a colleague or a mentor, but not your boss).
Remember: the key here is to improve your visibility on the platform and help a casual profile visitor shape a better impression of your professional acumen.
As a precaution, however, turn off public notifications on your profile. This will prevent your employer or the HR team from seeing the flurry of your activities and wondering what prompted that.
3. Don’t Share Your Resume Publicly
Finding a new job while employed means that you have to be cautious about sharing your resume with just about anyone.
Don’t publish it publicly on popular job search websites. (We have a funny comic post about why this isn’t a great idea!).
Also, when approached by recruiters directly, mention that your job search is confidential. Most will exercise discretion and will not contact your employer for references until the latest interviewing stages.
4. Consider Networking Events
Instead of spending all your free time applying for jobs directly, try to find some other ways in — such as networking events.
There’s a ton of meetups happening online these days, which means you can easily attend without tipping off your boss.
- Eventbrite curates online networking events.
- Meetup and Facebook Events are chock full on in-person events.
Next, follow specific companies on social media. Most will also regularly post about upcoming after-hour events. If you are a recent graduate, keep an eye on posts from your alma mater or other unis in your area. Again, most share updates about upcoming events, career fairs, and meetups with recruiters.
Next, don’t forget to prep up for attendance.
Polish or craft your elevator pitch, print out or QR code your resume, and have a couple of physical business cards in your pocket if you are still using them. Alternatively, you can create a simple online card website and share a link to it with anyone interested to learn more about your work.
Also, don’t forget about collecting contact information from others! Offer a prospective employer to immediately connect on LinkedIn. Then ask for their email too and send a quick follow-up message on the next day.
5. Arrange A Stealthy Interview Appointment
While you can hardly walk out of your workplace at 10 am to attend a job interview across town, you can try to arrange a job interview at a more convenient time that will fit in with your workday. Most recruiters will try to accommodate your schedule if you mention that you are currently employed.
If you have arranged a phone interview first, take it outside during your lunch break. You can pick the call in your car or in a quiet public space.
See if you can arrange for a more casual interview that can be held in a local cafe or restaurant during your lunch break or after work. Many small tech startups are all for conducting interviews in non-conventional settings, so would be happy to meet you for an informal interview over a cup of coffee.
Many smaller businesses that have a ‘lean operation’ may not even have any formal interview rooms or offices where they can hold interviews. Most are happy to meet potential recruits in more social settings for an interview.
6. Don’t Over-Dress For An Interview
If your job is in a smart-casual work environment, it can make everyone suspicious of you should you turn up one day wearing your smartest interview suit. You can try to divert their curiosity by not going all-out with your outfit.
- Carry your jacket into the office folded over your arm.
- Don’t wear your tie – instead, keep it rolled up in your jacket pocket and wear your shirt open at the neck.
- Keep a slouchy jumper or cardigan at work that you can slip over your interview shirt. It will take the smart edge off your appearance while you work.
When you go for your job interview, you can put on your tie and jacket in the car or as you walk down the street on the way to your appointment. Leave your slouchy cardigan at work or in the car for the next time you need it.
7. Don’t Be Too Public About Your Job Search
No matter how much you dislike your job, don’t tell anyone on your team that you are looking for a job. Should the word slip out, then your boss will be keeping an extra eagle-eye on your activities. Plus, they may go into hiring mode too and start looking for your replacement. This means you’ll have less time to find a new job.
Here’s how to look for a job while working full-time without having anyone else in the office notice:
- Don’t use corporate resources such as email or printers for job search activities.
- Provide recruiters with a personal phone number, not the work phone.
- Set up interviews and calls with recruiters during off-hours or lunch.
- Don’t store your job application materials on your corporate device or in corporate cloud accounts.
Finally, keep doing your best work during office hours. Underperforming will likely suggest to some of your colleagues or your supervisor that you may be up to something. Also, the last thing you’d want is to jeopardize getting a good recommendation or reference from the current employer due to your lax behavior.
Job searching while still employed can be challenging. Especially if you want to approach your current employer for a reference for your new job. Do your best work during office hours. Prioritize your job search activities outside of work!
Yes, you may be forgiven by your boss for openly job searching while still working if you know that your contract is coming to an end. But still, don’t get too blatant about your focus on finding a new job and stay on top of things at work.