We’ve talked about it before; it’s essential to have a strong online presence if you’re looking for a new job. That’s all well and good, when you’re unemployed, self-employed, or not being monitored by your boss.
But, attempting to job hop while employed in a full-time situation is a whole other story.
Sure, most employers aren’t completely blindsided when an employee gives notice. It’s the way of the world, especially in 2019, when no one stays at a job for long.
Still, looking for a job while on the job can be a minefield. Will you get fired if you get caught? How will you schedule interviews? What happens if your employer finds out you’re looking for greener pastures and the search takes longer than expected?
Below, we’ll dive into some of the concerns job hunters have while keeping up the charade at a job they’re not exactly thrilled about.
Doing a secret job search — how to find work on the DL
Don’t search at work
If you work in an office, it’s hard to fight the urge to do some job hunting while you’re on the clock. But, by all means — don’t do it. Write your cover letters at home, fill out your applications at the coffee shop, and stay off of company networks.
For one, you’ll still need to be respectful of your company while you’re on the clock. They are still paying you to work for them, not going out and wooing some new company.
Second, employers are increasingly spying on their staff. In some cases, companies are looking at internet histories, keeping tabs on social accounts, and reading their emails. As such, it’s smart to avoid using any company equipment for personal business. Like anything else in this digital age, your online activity can affect your reputation down the road. Tread carefully.
For timely responses, limit your email replies to your phone. Or pack your personal laptop and have lunch in a local coffee shop.
TL/DR, do the heavy lifting at home.
Social media precautions
Again, social media is an essential tool for job hunters. Secret job hunters, not so much. Where freelancers and the unemployed can benefit from sharing their goals publically, employed seekers must err on the side of discretion.
LinkedIn will be one of the first places that a hiring manager will visit before deciding to schedule a call. Make sure your photos are in good shape, current, and that your job information is up to date.
Beyond keeping your social media sites clean and current, be careful about what you’re posting online. This means no Facebook posts about your job hunting process, no tweeting at potential employers, and so forth. Even if your boss doesn’t look at your profiles, someone else might pass the word along and blow your cover.
Building on staying mum on social, we should also mention that it’s smart to avoid posting your resume in any public settings.
What if interview times conflict with your real job?
This is a hard one.
One of the best parts of being alive in the digital era is that it’s super easy to submit online applications — rather than running your resume around town. Still, if you plan on working in an office setting at least some of the time, prospective employers and recruiters will want to meet you in person.
You’ll want to schedule your interviews carefully — early in the morning or at the tail end of the day make the most sense — as these short absences are easier to explain — you have to pick up your kid, go to the doctor, etc. Another smart idea is to schedule a few interviews on the same day — and use a vacation day.
If you do plan on leaving early or coming in late, you’ll want to bring a change of clothes. Many offices tend toward the casual and showing up in a suit when you’re usually a jeans person will draw some unwanted attention to yourself.
Recruiters can blow your cover
Most recruiters will say that they’ll be discreet, but they may accidentally blow your cover if you aren’t careful. Make sure you let them know your situation and be completely upfront about not revealing your name unless a prospect is serious.
Another concern is, the recruiter might work for your current employer. Recruiters, of course, don’t work for the job seekers. They get paid by the employer that uses them to find qualified candidates. As such, you need to remember these folks aren’t on your side. Be careful about what you tell the recruiter about your salary requirements, other prospects, and current job situation.
What if you do get caught?
Letting your employer know you’re thinking about moving on isn’t an easy conversation. But, if someone sees through your stealth attempts to duck out of the office for the latest “dental” appointment, it’s not a bad idea to clue your employer into your plan.
If you have a good relationship with the management team, they may try to convince you to stay — but they’ll likely understand this is the best move for your career.
Alternatively, it might be an awkward situation for the next few weeks, months, and so on.
As far as whether or not you can get fired, it depends. Hourly employees are getting paid for their time, so getting caught scrolling for openings while on the clock can undoubtedly result in loss of employment. Salaried employees might have an easier time, as schedules are often flexible so long as projects are completed.
Finally, make sure you don’t give notice until you have a firm offer and you’ve accepted it. In some cases, the new employer might withdraw an offer, so don’t put in your two weeks’ until you’ve signed a contract.