Searching for a job while you’re currently still in another one is tough. Make sure you don’t commit these common mistakes while you’re doing so.
Job hunting is never easy. There’s just so much to think about: which company do you want to apply for? How do you tailor-fit your resume to get the job you want? And if you do get offers–how do you even choose?
When it comes down to it, just applying for a job is hard; but doing it while you still have a job? Doubly harder.
Which is why you should make sure not to commit these common mistakes when actively looking for a job while still employed in another one.
Mistake No. 1: Not being transparent with your recruiters.
In the job market, being a person of value is attractive to any employer (including your current one).
Recruiters the world over understand that their ideal candidate might be currently employed elsewhere. If you work in an industry that has small circles (think: finance or consulting), it’s especially important to be discreet.
What to do instead:
In order to ensure that you protect your personal interests (such as your reputation), make sure you’re transparent with your current recruiters: Yes, I work for company X, who’s a competitor of your company Y.
Be clear that you’re interested in the role, but that you would appreciate their discretion in ensuring other industry members don’t accidentally get wind of your job hunt.
In other words? Tell anybody involved in your job search: please keep it on the down-low! My current company doesn’t know I’m looking for a job—and wouldn’t appreciate hearing about it from others.
It’s a small world out there, and as long as you’re just searching for a job instead of securing it, it’s every jobseeker for themselves. Be sure to protect yourself when you do.
Mistake No. 2: Bad-mouthing your company during the interview.
Let’s face it: people leave. And realistically, a negative experience could be a huge part of the reason: a terrible boss; toxic working environment; even your disengaged colleagues could be a factor.
When you’re interviewing for another job elsewhere, it’s inevitable that they’ll ask you why you’re leaving your current one. But common wisdom says that no matter how negative your experience, you should never badmouth your former employer.
Why? Because not only does it make you look petty—and willing to badmouth your possible future employer, too—but it also makes you look unprofessional.
Essentially, it shows them that instead of being proactive about finding solutions for your personal situation, you’d rather blame external factors you can’t control. It sends the message that you’re unable (or worse, unwilling) to take charge of difficult situations, and that you’re not action- nor solutions-oriented.
What to do instead:
Experts suggest placing a positive spin on the question: instead of discussing the reasons why you can’t wait to leave your current company/boss/team, place an emphasis on the opportunities that the new role could provide instead.
The experts over at The Big Interview put it well: “The general rule here is that you should always be leaving to move toward a better opportunity. You should never position it as fleeing from a bad opportunity.”
Here’s an example: instead of saying you’re stagnating in the job, be excited about how much growth the new role could offer you.
Or, instead of focusing on how your old company didn’t provide you your due benefits (and how excited you are about the perks at this new one), discuss how much value you believe you could bring to the role instead (i.e. specialized knowledge in a certain software) and how interested that makes you.
The key is to deflect the question: chances are, this interviewer has asked this question a million times. They’re not just gauging what your answer is going to be, but how well you’re able to put a positive spin on an otherwise negative question.
Mistake No. 3: Not being discreet yourself.
Transparency with your recruiters is one thing—but you must make sure you yourself aren’t the source of the leakage. Whether it’s online or offline, be sure to keep your job search as stealthy as possible.
After all: you owe it to your company to respect their procedures. Only let them get wind of your formal resignation (with the minimum amount days’ notice, of course) when you do have the job secured.
What to do instead:
There are many ways to guarantee your stealth mode stays the same.
Online, be sure that when you update your profile on your job platform, your notifications for your network are turned off.
When checking emails, always use your personal—never your work email. And be sure to do it during breaks outside of the office; you never know who might be looking over your shoulder. Same goes for your cell number, if you have separate work and personal lines.
Offline, be sure not to tell anyone in your office. And if you must, only tell that co-worker-turned-trusted-confidante. It’s a tricky line to toe, and one slip from them to any other person in your office and word will definitely spread.
Never print any documents related to your job search in the office either, tempting as it may be with the free ink and paper.
And when going for interviews, other companies usually hold it during business hours. Be sure to file a leave in advance so that you’re not disturbed or arouse suspicion with your immediate supervisor.
We know how hard it is to navigate your career—and job hunting is just one aspect. We hope these tips could help make your journey a bit smoother.
Here’s to your success in securing a new, better role!
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