February 10, 2012
Hide your tracks when looking for another job
Previously, the only way your employer might get a hint that you were looking for another job was when you showed up in a nice outfit suitable for interviewing during your lunch hour instead of your usual scruffy khaki pants and T-shirt.
But these days, it’s a much different story. Employers may be able to glean that you’re looking to jump ship by your frenzied activity updating your LinkedIn profile or through a Twitter or Facebook posting that mentions you hate your job and are trying to leave as quickly as possible.
Savvy employers may even use Foursquare to track your movements and see that you’ve been visiting competitors or spending a lot of time at your local copy center, where they might surmise you’re printing your resume.
The problem is that with the job market so full of talented people seeking work, your boss may tolerate your actions less than in years past. He or she may believe that your desire to leave should be hurried along -- and just fire you on the spot.
“I think there are a lot of people looking for other jobs these days because they’ve been working really hard and holding onto jobs for a long time that they don’t love,” says Hannah Morgan, a career consultant. “But I also think you have to be very, very careful if you’re going to look for another job when you already have one.”
Susan Joyce, editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org, agrees.
“People are so clueless,” she says. “I don’t know how many times I’ve contacted someone and told them that they need to remove the Job-Hunt.org [widget] from their list of LinkedIn groups. Groups are something that are Googled relentlessly by employers.”
So how do you fly below the radar when searching for a job? Joyce and Morgan offer some tips:
Don’t attend job fairs or job-search networking events. On the other hand, going to an industry conference can be seen as necessary for your current job but still give you plenty of chances to network with other potential employers.
“Even when attending these events, don’t ask someone whether there are any openings at their company,” Morgan says. “Say something like, ‘So, what’s new and exciting at your company these days?’ It’s more subtle, but still raises awareness of who you are.”
Never use company time or resources. Don’t use company voice mail or email; your employer can check both, and evidence of a search could be immediate grounds for dismissal.
In addition, access your social networks only through your personal computer and account. Joyce says she recalls a woman who had built up more than 500 contacts through LinkedIn but lost them all when she was dismissed from her job and the account was accessible only from her work email.
Turn off the updates feature. When updating your profile on LinkedIn, for example, turn off the automatic updates feature so your network isn’t constantly being pinged that you’re suddenly busy on the professional networking site.
Stay mum. Don’t tell anyone, including your best buddy at work, that you’re searching for a new job.
If asked about it outright, Morgan says you never should openly admit to the search but rather say something like “Aren’t we always looking for another job?” and just try to laugh it off.
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