Just like every business owner is always looking for the next great sale or buy to come along, his or her employees need to give some attention to the current job market.
While most employees are probably content or even happy with their present jobs, especially given the economic environment we live in these days, it should not come as a surprise that many of those same workers are likely keeping one eye on the Help Wanted pages.
With that being said, it is important for workers to tread carefully when job hunting while already in a present position. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that one’s job search while gainfully employed can be looked upon quite negatively by one’s present employer.
In the event you find yourself in this position, keep several factors in front of you:
- Loose lips sink ships – The old Navy adage is just as true in the job world. While your co-worker may be one of your best friends, they could accidentally spill the beans that you are job hunting, even maybe so while on company time. The boss finds out about this, calls you into their office, then proceeds to give you a pink slip. What you are left with is no job, unemployment if you are fortunate enough to get it, and the real pressure of now having to find a job as opposed to wanting to find a new job.
- Know who you are talking to – A friend of mine, someone who was very unhappy in their job, once sent a resume to an unknown online mailbox that was the address for a writing position. Unbeknownst to my friend, it was his current employer looking to hire new writers. You can imagine the surprise on my friend’s face when his boss said he received his resume for the present opening. Try explaining yourself around that one. Only respond to job ads that have a clear company name attached to them so you are not left with nasty little surprises.
- Don’t alter your schedule or appearance – If you eat lunch at your desk five days a week and where casual clothing to your job, what do you think your co-workers and/or boss will be thinking if you show up in a suit or real nice dress one day and go “out” for lunch? It may seem innocent enough, but don’t tip your hand that you are en route to a job interview on company time. The best advice is taking a change of clothing with you and leaving it in the car. If you can schedule your interview before or after work, all the better. Most folks advertising for help will be understanding if you’re in a current job and need a little wiggle room to come in for an interview.
- Don’t leave a paper trail – The ideal situation is to look for a job aside from company hours, but sometimes it cannot be helped. If you find yourself needing some time during the day to search for another position, do it discreetly. Do not leave phone or fax numbers, copies of your cover letters and resume sitting around for all to see.
- Make sure you have the offer in writing – While it sounds like common sense, you’d be surprised how many people sometimes fall short of such a thing. If you want to leave your present job for another one, make sure the new job gives you an offer in writing before you tell the present employer bye-bye. You wouldn’t be the first and probably not the last person who told an employer they were leaving, only to find out the job they thought they had lined up wasn’t 100 percent secure after all.
Unlike earlier generations who oftentimes stayed at the same job for decades or even a lifetime, today’s economic world in many cases dictates constant change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
In the event you find yourself looking for another job while still employed somewhere – do it with the right state of mind – the state of I will let family and friends know when I start my new position and not if.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other items starting a business, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.