The Best Way to Keep Your Job Hunt on the D.L.
Job Search

The Best Way to Keep Your Job Hunt on the D.L.

by Ashley McAlpin
Photos Joanne Pio | February 22, 2016

YOU'VE DONE THE HARD PART, RECOGNIZING YOU'RE UNHAPPY AND DECIDING TO MOVE ON. NOW WE'VE GOT TIPS FOR JOB SEARCHING ON THE SLY, WITHOUT HURTING FEELINGS OR YOUR CHANCE FOR FUTURE REFERENCES.

My knees were shaking—quite uncontrollably—as I counted down until 3pm. “What if they find my Indeed profile?” or worse, “What if they catch me in that ‘dentist appointment’ lie?” 

We’ve all been there: unhappy with our jobs and finally frustrated enough to update our resumes and start submitting cover letters. I just didn't expect to be there this time.

When I accepted my “dream job” I thought it was a match made in heaven—but then suddenly, it wasn’t. Somewhere along the way, I realized I was miserable. I found myself scouring Indeed and LinkedIn every morning to pass the time, counting the hours as the days ticked past.

Then came the interviews. A phone call at 2 p.m., a meeting at 4 p.m.—all while trying to balance the demand of my current position without getting “caught.” To say the experience was stressful is not saying enough. 

As miserable as it felt, my situation wasn’t uncommon. In fact, according to a study by CareerBuilder, three out of every four employed workers are open to, or actively seeking, new employment opportunities. {Click to Tweet}

As women, we should feel empowered by the idea that we can always seek out the best opportunity for ourselves, our lifestyles, and our pocket books regardless of our current situation. But instead, we often feel rushed, stressed, and overwhelmed. So, how can we appropriately balance our secret “hunt” so that we avoid ruining our current situation but also missing exciting opportunities?

Here are my top five tips, having been there and done that, for keeping your search on the “D.L.”

1. ERR DEEEEEEP ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION

One of the easiest ways you can fail in your “undercover” job search is by being careless about your resume. Spamming your resume across numerous channels, haphazardly contacting various recruiters, and misusing social media sets you on the fast track to getting caught. The more places your application materials wind up, the greater the chance of them landing in the wrong hands.

Be careful in your search. Seek out meaningful opportunities that will further your career, then apply directly to those positions. If you’d like to work with a recruiter, choose one that has your best interests in mind and have a direct conversation about why you’re looking—and why that means you’ll need their discretion. 

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The best was to streamline moving on is to make a graceful exit. Respect will take you far, especially when it comes to future references, opportunities, and connections. On the other hand, the fastest way to lose your current employer's respect is to treat your current job like it’s a low priority.  

There are a few ways to show respect while seeking new opportunities.

First, use your own time. Wake up early, go to bed late—whatever it takes—but don’t waste your company’s time searching on their dime.

And when it comes to interviews? Don’t bash your current employer. Everyone has dirty laundry. If you’re working in a bad environment, good for you for leaving! But don’t throw your employer under the bus on the way out.

Not only will speaking negatively about your employer place them in an unfavorable light, it will also reflect negatively on you. Keep it classy. 

One of the easiest ways you can fail in your “undercover” job search is by being careless about your resume.

3. TAKE NOTES

If your position does not allow you the luxury of a flexible schedule or “undefined” time off, you will have to make excuses. This is one of the most unfortunate and touchy elements of the job search. Make sure that you keep track of the reasons/excuses you use to explain your absence. There’s nothing worse than having to explain why you had three dentist appointments in a row. Save yourself the stress and take notes.

4. TRANSPARENT ISN'T JUST AN AMAZON SERIES 

As you begin to interview with companies, be transparent with them. Make sure that the hiring manager knows you're employed. This will help you to avoid any third-party contact with your current employer that could reflect poorly on you.

Also, prepare an answer for “Why?” Devise a transparent explanation for why you are leaving your current position, staying positive while expressing any underlying themes that may make or break your happiness in this position as well.

5. REMEMBER YOUR WORTH

More than anything else, remember your worth. The stress that accompanies searching for a new position while being employed is great, but you are worth it. You deserve to be successful, empowered and happy at work—even if that means seeking out a new opportunity. {Click to Tweet

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What about you? Have you successfully mastered the “hunt” while being employed?