5 Musts for Avoiding One of the Biggest Job Search/Career Sins (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Be honest.

Have you ever looked for a new job while you are at your current job?

Of course you have. 

We’ve all seen other people make this job search sin, and we’ve all made this sin ourselves (myself included).

When you are still employed, you have to be careful about how you conduct a job search.  Your current employer won’t be happy if they find out you are looking for a new job, especially if you are using time spent at work to do so.

Here are 5 musts when you are doing a job search while still employed:

1. Keep your job search 100% separate from your current job.  This sounds obvious, but few people are disciplined enough to do this.  Your employer has the right and the ability to monitor any of your email/Internet activities, so if you are firing off job search emails at work or visiting job boards, there is a good chance your employer will learn about it.  (Note: Using Internet job boards is one of the WORST ways to look for a job anyway!)   In addition, when communicating with potential new employers and applying to jobs, use a personal email address, personal home address, personal cell phone number, and so on.  Do NOT use any contact information for your current place of employment.  Lastly, if you see a call come in on your phone from a number you don’t recognize, let it go to voicemail.  Conducting a job search at your current place of employment is not worth the risk, and it will cause you unnecessary stress.

2. Be careful who you tell about your job search.  Only tell friends, family, and colleagues you really trust and/or who can help you get to the job you really want.  Be particularly careful about letting any of your colleagues know that you are looking for a new job.  People love to gossip at work, and word travels fast when an employee is looking to leave. 

3. Be careful about what you post online.  Another huge mistake people make is to spray their resume everywhere online and to comment about their job search through social media platforms, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Even if you have your privacy settings set to private on these sites, it’s too easy for the wrong person to learn that you are looking for a job.  Social media tools can definitely help you get a better job faster, but you have to be careful about how you utilize them.  In order to research different jobs, companies, or industries, consider setting up a “fake” profile on LinkedIn or Twitter.  Yes, I realize that’s not the purpose of those web sites, but you have to look out for yourself and your family first.  (I did this a few years ago to research different industries and companies anonymously.)

4. Give your best effort at your current job.  Getting fired from your current job won’t help your cause in getting a new job.  Don’t draw any negative attention to yourself.  Make sure you continue to show up on time, keep your effort high, and don’t go around complaining to your colleagues about your job.  No one wants to hear your complaints anyway! 

5. Be prepared if anyone questions you.  If someone (i.e. your boss) asks you if you are looking for another job, have a standard reply ready to go.  Rather than lying, reply as if it would be bizarre for your employer to expect you not to be looking for other jobs.  For example, you could say something like, “Jim, I always keep my eyes open for new opportunities.  I have a family to worry about, and I need to make sure I always have back-up options in this economy.  Having said that, you know I give you guys 100% of my focus and effort while I’m at work.”

In summary, it might not be fair, but there is definitely a stigma associated with those who are unemployed.  (Note: If you are already unemployed, you can get around this by volunteering.  Just find a non-profit organization where you can donate your skills/time on a part-time, volunteer basis.  Then, rather than saying you are unemployed, you can reference that work when communicating with potential employers.)

Be smart about how you conduct your job search!

Got something to add to this article?  Please share your thoughts or comments below!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

Pete@IdealizeNow.com

www.IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. To learn more about my programs and availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour (or for individual career coaching), please send an email to Pete@IdealizeNow.com.

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