Start Your Job Searching Before Resigning

There are many reasons why you might wish to leave your current employment – perhaps you are looking for greater benefits, a promotion, you don’t get on with your colleagues, or just something different.

In any circumstance if you’re searching for a new job while you continue to be employed you will usually need to be discreet to avoid causing grief in your current role.


Follow the covert job seeking rules below to ensure you maintain professional working practices without upsetting the balance in your existing role if you don’t get offered a new position.

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Separate your existing job from your job search:

There are occasions when searching for a new job is acceptable and your employer may encourage this, by law in some cases. For example if your company is downsizing and your role is no longer secure. You can then use some company time to search for an alternative role, attend interviews etc. In most other situations you should avoid searching for a new job using your company computer, even during lunch breaks, and try not to use your work email address to get in touch with prospective employers. Many companies, especially the larger ones, monitor computer and email usage. Even if your company does not do this there is a chance your boss might walk past while you’re reading a job offer or filling in your application form.

It is also best practice not to use company resources to print your CV or post out mail to potential employers.

If you do intend to continue your job search during work time, here’s some rules to follow:

Tell only trusted colleagues:

Firstly be careful who you tell. In most circumstances your colleagues are trustworthy and do what they say… but even people who you regard as good friends may gossip to another colleague… who may in turn take advantage of an opportunity to further their own career by letting it slip that you are actively searching for alternative employment.

Not to mention the fact that you may have found an excellent career opportunity to apply for and perhaps another colleague is just as dissatisfied at work, but better qualified in that sector. By keeping your job lead discreet you may avoid further competition when it comes to interviews.

If you have entrusted details of your job search to a colleague then ensure you ask them to keep it quiet.

Arranging interviews:

Hopefully your application will go forward to the next step and you’ll be selected for some interviews. You will probably be able to pass a few of these off as doctors or dentist appointments, but it won’t be long before this strategy raises suspicion. Try to arrange interviews outside of your working times or if your interviewer isn’t flexible then use your holiday.

Think about your clothing

If you need to look smart for work then no one will think twice if you arrive at work in a suit and tie because you have an interview during your lunch break. But if you work in a casual office and usually turn up in jeans and a t-shirt then there may be questions to answer. You can either make something up, perhaps telling colleagues you have a date or have to rush off to a family commitment, or think in advance and make a quick change in a public toilet on the way.

Give your boss notice on your forthcoming departure

It may be that you have an excellent and open working relationship with your boss, and you are confident in sharing that you are actively looking for another job. In this situation giving your boss the ‘heads-up’ may be a good idea.

But be careful. You think you have been honest and fair; your boss may think you are fishing for a promotion or benefits, and they may resent you for this. You may also be viewed as a temporary employee and not be offered the more important contracts or your employer could even start the recruitment process for your replacement, leaving you in an awkward limbo if you haven’t already found your new position. Don’t forget your job search could take much longer than you anticipate – especially in these difficult times.

Don’t use your current boss as referee

To speed up the recruitment and selection process many employers are asking for references on candidates before they have even been interviewed, let alone been offered the position.

Ensure that you use previous employers for references, even if it was some time ago, so that your current employer is not approached before you have even told them you may be thinking about leaving. This will not set them in a good frame of mind when filling in a reference request.

Tell you potential employer the truth

All employers in any position are looking for staff that are trustworthy and reliable. If a potential employer asks whether your boss knows you are looking for another job then be honest. It is understandable for you not to have disclosed that information, and if you say “yes” then they will undoubtedly see that as the red light to contact you current employer.

If you have been found to lie during the recruitment and selection process, it is likely you will removed from the process altogether.

Don’t neglect your current job

If your job search is going well then it is likely you are excited and distracted with your future prospects. Do not neglect your current job, stay focused on tasks and carry out your responsibilities during your working hours. You should continue to be productive right until the end, even after you’ve handed in your resignation, as your conduct in this time may also be reflected in your references.

When to hand in your notice

So you’re feeling optimistic about the telephone feedback from an interview and you think you might be offered the post. You’re keen to hand in your resignation so that you can start working out your notice and begin your new job as soon as possible.

REMEMBER though that the job isn’t yours until you’ve had an offer in writing. Your first written offer may be conditional upon receipt of certain documents such as CRB, credit checks or occupational health forms so it may be some time before the formal offer comes through. Think carefully about when to hand in your notice and when you might be able to start the new job.

Searching for a new job while you are still in work can be hard going, I mean who wants to sit at a computer all day at work, and then do more when you get home?! But keeping the two separate avoids much hassle at work and you’ll be able to give your job search and current responsibilities your full attention and the time that they deserve.

By searching while you already have a job you’ll be in a better position to reject job offers that don’t suit you and negotiate salary etc.

Currently employed and looking for a new career? We’d like to hear about how you are dealing with your job search while you are working.

photo by: imsoniac

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