Lauren's Interview - Job Hunting on the Sly

Job-hunting and interviewing for new positions while still employed full-time can be tricky. But in the increasingly competitive job market today, it's more common for employees to be constantly on the lookout for a more promising offer.

The sensitivity of job-hunting while employed--and keeping the process under wraps--varies from industry to industry. Dr. Robert Trumble, professor of management and director of the Virginia Labor Studies Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, says that it can also depend on the corporate culture. "In some, it could be the kiss of death," he says, while other fields such as the tech industry, where talent is at a premium and individual skills are highly appreciated, fielding outside offers is expected.

Lauren Mackler, a career and life coach and author of Solemate, frequently advises clients about how to best seek out new opportunities while holding a full-time job. Here are her top tips:

"To minimize risk of losing your current job control to whom and how your resume and cover letter are circulated," she says. Mackler advises against posting your resume publicly on job sites, as it makes it more likely that it will be spotted by your current employer. "When you do submit your resume let people know you're doing so confidentially, as you're still currently employed," she continues. Instead of letting a friend or a colleague submit your resume to a hiring manager or an inside company contact, request the person's contact information and submit your resume and cover letter yourself and use the person's name who referred you, Mackler suggests.

On the topic of confidentiality, Mackler adds that any contact information listed on your resume should be personal--personal e-mail, personal cell numbers, etc., and you should never include any contact information that's linked to your current employer. Running the risk of being contacted at work is bad form, she counsels.

Once your resume has made it through the preliminary screening, Mackler suggests you don't jump at any interview opportunity thrown your way. "Only take time off from your job to interview for positions in which you're seriously interested. The minute you start interviewing for a new job you're putting your current employment at risk," she cautions. The corporate arena can be a small world, and news could get back to your supervisor's office before you do.

Job hunting on the sly can involve the panicked closing of browser windows to keep your resume and applications from the eyes of supervisors, but in some instances, getting caught can work to your advantage. Ashley Campbell, then a mid-level producer at an ad agency in Boston, found herself in an awkward situation that turned out surprisingly well. "I had my boss on a project looking over my shoulder at something, I was clicking out of windows to get to a website build I was showing her, and boom! There was my resume." Click here to read the entire article by Meghan Casserly on