How to Look for a Job While You Are Employed

Searching for a New Job Without Jeopardizing Your Current One

Woman peruses job listings
••• Winston Davidian/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Are job seekers who are currently employed more desirable candidates? Many experts believe so, but you may wonder how to look for a job while you are employed. It can be tricky to conduct your search without arousing your boss's suspicions. She could start looking for your replacement before you are ready to move on. These tips can keep you from running into trouble:

1. Don't Discuss Your Job Search With Your Coworkers

If you want to turn something that was supposed to be a secret into public knowledge, share it with just one other person. Once someone else knows about it, there is no way to predict how far it will go...perhaps even to your boss's office. To keep her from finding out about your job search don't talk about it with anyone at work. Even a trusted confidant—not to mention someone who doesn't have the best intentions—can accidentally reveal your plans to another person who in turn can then tell more people.

Before long, your boss will know what you are up to. You can't expect other people to guard your secret if you can't keep it to yourself.

2. Don't Use Your Work Phone, Computer, or Email

Consider any equipment that is owned by your boss off-limits when it comes to your job search. That means, never use a company-issued telephone, computer, or email address. Don't even go online through the wifi in your office. There's a good chance your employer could be , as revealed by surveys conducted by the American Management Association over the last decade ().

If you have to conduct any business related to your job search while you are at work, use your own cell phone. Make sure it isn't a company-issued one. instead of logging into the company wifi, sign onto your data plan. To send email, only use a personal account. Never give your work email address to communicate with prospective employers.

3. Don't Job Hunt on Your Boss's Time

It is very likely you will have to do some job search-related activities during business hours. That's when prospective employers will be at work after all. However, this is when you will also be at work, and your boss will be paying you for your time. How should you handle this? Use any breaks you get during the day to make phone calls and respond to email.

4. Make Job Search Related Phone Calls Away From the Office

Make all calls related to your job search away from your employer's premises. Even though you are using your own cell phone and data plan and are therefore eliminating the risk of electronic monitoring, someone may eavesdrop on you the old fashioned way—by listening. Although the break room may seem like a private place, you never know who will walk in on you. Go to your car or take a walk to a nearby coffee shop that isn't frequented by your coworkers.

5. Schedule Interviews Before or After Work, or at Lunchtime

Scheduling could be a problem for employed job searchers. If you leave the office during the day, your boss will definitely know something is up. You can lie and say you have a doctor's appointment, but how often can you use that excuse? First, see if the interview can happen after work. If the prospective employer can only interview you during business hours, take a personal day or if you can schedule several interviews in a week, use vacation time.

6. Be Careful About What You Wear

Your boss and coworkers will be suspicious if you show up for work wearing a suit when you normally dress casually. Find someplace to do a quick "Superman-style" change into . While there aren't any phone booths around these days, the bathroom of a coffee shop will serve the purpose.

7. Use Former Employers as References

A new employer who is close to hiring may ask for a . Since you don't want your current boss to know about your activities, you obviously can't ask him. Most prospective employers will be understanding about this. They are usually satisfied with a reference from a previous employer instead of your current one.