If you’re about to start a new job search but will continue being employed throughout the process, then you should avoid the following traps to keep up with your current job, reputation, and future in the process.
Keep in mind, most the following advice can be thrown out the window if you’ve told your team that you plan to leave and you’re having a cordial break up with your employer.
1. Avoid discussing it with co-workers
This is a very common mistake made by employed job seekers. Letting your co-workers know you’re looking for a new job can definitely come back to bite you. Word can get back to your boss or others on your team, causing the workplace to get uncomfortable. Avoid talking about your job search at work or on social media while you are employed. Let people know when the time comes: when you’ve landed your next gig.
2. Avoid asking (most) co-workers for references
Unless you have an undoubted, utmost trust in a current co-worker, you shouldn’t ask them to be a reference in your search. While a co-worker can be a great reference for a potential employer, you have to weigh such benefits against the risks of disturbance at your workplace. The real stress will start if you don’t get the job you applied for, but everyone knows you were looking. If you can, avoid the current co-worker reference in favor of past teammates.
3. Avoid bad-mouthing your employer
Don’t speak negatively about your current employer to anyone while job seeking. This includes your boss and co-workers. It can signal disloyalty if it comes across the wrong way. Always frame things around what you learned, times you thrived, or how you were able to improve your workplace, instead.
4. The obvious one: Don’t use company equipment
Plain and simple: avoid using company internet, company computers and devices, or company supplies to conduct your job search. Your employer owns and accesses a lot of this information, so switch off Wi-Fi into 4G while handling any job seeking tasks while at work. Try to handle it all off-hours, when possible.
5. Avoid the irresistible slack
Finding a new job is not a guaranteed deal, even while you’re a coveted employed job seeker. There’s less stress because you have a paycheck and a safety valve -- but you can ruin that by intentionally or unintentionally slacking off at work. Don’t give your bosses any reason to fire you. In your last months while job searching, you should make it a point to kick ass at your job. In that way, you can secure a lasting and strong relationship with the company and maybe even find that promotion you would stay for but weren’t getting.
6. Try not to burn bridges
When you find your next gig, avoid burning bridges. Leave your current job in a professional and respectful manner. If you leave a lasting positive impression, you can continue relying on and communicating with old colleagues and bosses, and you never know when you may need to network again for a new job. You might also have the opportunity to do business with your former employer, depending on your new gig, so keep the relationship alive.
The general rule of thumb during this process is to stay respectful. It truly is a small world, and you never know when you’ll be working with, selling to, or partnering with former co-workers. Leaving a lasting positive impression and expanding your rolodex can only make you more of an asset to future employers.
7. The secret rule: avoid half-seeking
Commit yourself to your off-hours job search. If you need to break one of the above rules to fairly but sharply grab a new opportunity, do it. This is your career, so run a process and reach your goals.