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How to find a job when you're working

Managing Risk When Transitioning Employment

Most of us have an aversion to risk; we’re creatures who play things safe and when moving on from your current job to a new one, life can get a bit tricky.

Putting in a good day’s work without arousing suspicion that other horizons are looking more attractive is tough. Maintaining enthusiasm for the job you have, while searching for the opportunity you desire, is an emotional journey involving fear, excitement, a sense of betrayal or justice amongst others.

The pragmatics are this – if you have a great open relationship with your current manager you can probably discuss your future options; many of us though need the cloak of anonymity – the risk-free solution.

Here are some tips for negotiating this tricky situation.

Be strategic when networking for job opportunities

We all know that lots of jobs are found using your network of professional and personal contacts, but it’s hard to openly start job hunting without the risk of your manager hearing about it on the grapevine. Don’t start telling everyone that you’re on the lookout for a new job or that you’ve had enough of your current one. Instead, casually begin conversations within your networks, saying that while you’re doing well in your current position, you’re always actively considering new options and planning your next big challenge.

Don’t use your work email, computer or phone

There is a good chance that your employer monitors your communication in the workforce. A country-by-country analysis of legislation on employee monitoring by legal firm Hogan Lovells, found Australia to be one of the easiest countries for employers to monitor their workers. This included keylogging, screen capturing, email communication and internet browsing. If you want to keep your job search under wraps, it’s best to only do it on devices you own.

Organise your interviews appropriately

Fitting interviews into your workday can be tricky. There are only so many times you can say you have an appointment without raising suspicions. As the first step, check if the interview can happen before or after work. If the prospective employer can only interview you during business hours, let your manager know you have a personal matter and need to take some annual leave time.

Don’t let your clothes give you away

If you usually go to work casually dressed, you’ll raise eyebrows if you turn up in a suit and tie. Try doing a superman-esque quick change in the bathroom to get into interview attire.

Provide appropriate references

One of the biggest challenges every job seeker faces. The best approach in the first instance is to offer the names of previous employers, a trusted colleague who can vouch for your performance and a character reference willing to verify the information listed on your resume is correct.

If they insist on a reference from your supervisor explain that you haven’t disclosed you are looking for new roles and that you’re happy to provide that reference when an offer has been made. Many organisations will agree to make you on offer subject to a reference check.

Tell your manager about new job offers in a timely, considerate manner

Once you’ve received an offer you’re interested in, organise a private conversation with your manager to let them know. You certainly don’t want them to hear the news from someone else. Give them professional, objective reasons for moving on, and offer to make the transition as smooth as possible. This may mean you offer a reasonable amount of notice (not necessarily just the minimum required). You should also finalise or handover outstanding projects, and prepare procedures and handover notes for whoever may fill your position in the future. Leaving on good terms with your manager and colleagues always pays off! Not only will you strengthen your professional network and build a positive reputation but you never know who you might work with in the future.

Of course, before you spend any time searching for new roles ensure your resume is up to date, looks contemporary and is targeted to roles that interest you. Speak to the team of professional resume writers at Successful Resumes to get started.

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