What’s the best way to search for a new job while I’m still employed?
Undercover Job Seeker
Dear Undercover Job Seeker,
You’ll need to be both organized and discreet. Organized, because you will have to do much of your searching during nonwork hours, and discreet because . . . well, you get that, right?
Most people find their jobs through people they know. So when you put the word out to your network, let your contacts know that you’d prefer to keep your search quiet.
Create a spreadsheet or other way of tracking your search, and set aside specific times—whether in the morning, in the evening, or both—to send out e-mails. (Of course, any search-related e-mails you send should come from your personal account, not your work one.) You’re more likely to stay focused on the search if it’s part of your schedule like any other commitment.
If you have to schedule a phone conversation during work hours, make the call from somewhere outside the office: sit in your car in the parking lot if you must, or find a quiet corner of a coffee shop or hotel lobby.
Set up networking lunches. It’s a good way to build search-related activity into your workday without feeling furtive about it.
When you need to take time away from work to interview, you’ll feel more relaxed if you plan to use a half day of personal or vacation time, rather than trying to squeeze the appointment into a long lunch hour or inventing a mysterious doctor’s appointment.
Try not to feel discouraged when it seems as if you have no time to search. Remember that people who are employed have an easier time getting hired than those who are between jobs.