Job Hunting While Employed

Robert Half International

It's a common dilemma: You have a job but you want a better one. Whether you've outgrown your current role, seek increased compensation or need a change of scene, you're ready to explore new employment options. But how should you go about tracking down opportunities and meeting with hiring managers without jeopardizing your current position? Following are some do's and don'ts for conducting a job search while employed:

DON'T overlook opportunities within your own company.

Before updating your resume and hitting the job boards, consider employment opportunities that may be right under your nose. Many companies looking to fill vacancies give preference to internal candidates and make an effort to encourage these individual to apply for other positions within the company.

Share with your boss your interest in pursuing a new or higher-level position. He or she may be able to help you transfer to a different department, move into a role of increased responsibility or give you a chance to work on projects that will expand your skill set and prepare you for advancement.

DO be discreet.

If you want to keep your job search a secret, don't talk about it. If you tell your coworkers, you can be sure that it will get back to your boss, one way or another.

DON'T search on your employers' time.

You're being paid to work for the company, so you shouldn't be surfing the Web for job openings during business hours. Any activity related to your job search, including scheduling interviews, should be completed on your own time

DO get organized.

Set aside blocks of time that you can devote to your employment search; you will be amazed by how much you can get done in just a few hours. In addition to focusing on your job hunt at night and on weekends, you can use your lunch break to scour the want ads or review your resume. This also is a good time to return prospective employers' phone calls on your cell phone.

DON'T use company resources.

No matter how convenient it may be, don't use office stationery, stamps, fax machines or copiers. It's not only an inappropriate and unethical use of company resources but also an easy way for colleagues to find out about your job search from evidence you accidentally leave behind. Along the same lines, avoid using the office's computers and phone systems to reach out to hiring managers. Many employers monitor Internet usage and review phone call logs, making it easy for them to learn of your job hunt.

DO be careful where you post your resume.

If you don't want your current firm to accidentally find your resume when searching for new hires, post on a job site where you can keep your employer and contact information confidential. For example, offers three levels of privacy from which job seekers can choose.

DON'T make up excuses when meeting with hiring managers.

Most hiring managers will understand that accommodations may have to be made for you to attend an employment interview. Try to schedule meetings for either the beginning or the end of the day, or during your lunch hour. If a prospective employer can't interview you during those times, take a personal day.

DO pay attention to how you dress.

If your normal work attire consists of jeans and sneakers, showing up to the office in a business suit is likely to arouse suspicion. Avoid the attention by bringing a change of clothes.

DON'T forget to network.

More jobs are obtained through word of mouth than any other method, so take every opportunity to expand your circle of contacts. In addition to getting involved in professional associations and other networking groups, focus on meeting people while doing everyday activities. Try striking up conversations with those around you, from the coffee shop barista to the person sitting next to you at the doctor's office. These discussions can help you gain job leads or other valuable contacts.

DO register with a staffing firm.

Consider partnering with a recruiter, who can work discreetly on your behalf to distribute your resume and uncover job opportunities. These professionals also can offer guidance on enhancing your resume, improving your interview skills and increasing your chances of landing a new position

If you want to find a new job, stick to your game plan, be persistent and, perhaps most importantly, be respectful of your current employer. Though you may be tempted to conduct a quick search between projects or work on your resume on the job, think twice before doing so. You wouldn't want to do anything that could jeopardize your current position and future references.

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Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 360 offices throughout North America, South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. For more information about our professional services, please visit

Copyright 2008 Robert Half International, Inc.

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