Keeping Your Job Search Under The Radar At Work

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We’ve all done it. Dreamed of greener pastures on company time. And maybe we’ve even pursued those other options, only to find ourselves on the hunt again after the honeymoon wears off. There’s nothing wrong with keeping an eye out for better opportunities; honestly, in today’s economy, it’s in your best interest to always be aware of what’s available in your industry. The prevailing wisdom says that the best time to find a job is when you already have one, but navigating the interview process without arousing suspicion is a delicate art. That’s why we’ve come up with a few helpful tips to keep your current boss from noticing that you’re stepping out.

Watch what you Google. We don’t claim to be IT wizards. We don’t know what kind of dark magic your company employs to spy on your non-work-related interweb browsing. We kind of imagine that every job-search-related search term or web address sets off all kinds of alarms and red alerts inside your IT department’s hidden underground lair. That’s why you should save your active search for home. We suggest that you don’t even answer job-search related personal emails sent to our personal address on company computers. It may be best to turn off the wireless on your smartphones and answer emails on 3G, safe from prying eyes. We’re not 100% sure if it matters, but it will make you feel more confident.

Your interview attire makes you look suspicious. Every office has that guy who thinks it’s the most hilarious thing in the world to ask anyone who happens to wear ironed pants to work, “Hey, ya got an interview? HA HA HA!” First of all, if you’re that guy, quit that. It’s not funny and it makes people feel weirdly guilty, even if they’re not. However, if you do plan on going to interviews in the future, and you wear t-shirts and jeans to work every day, start priming the office now. Occasionally put on something nice for no reason so people get used it. If they comment, say you ran out of clean clothes, or you have post-work plans and can’t get home to change, or you grabbed the first thing you saw in your closet. Pretty soon, they’ll stop noticing your fancy attire and you can interview freely. Alternatively, you can also just change in your car like some kind of interview superhero.

You need a good excuse to leave. When searching for your new job, it’s important to have a good reason for your absence. Obviously, it’s best to schedule your interviews before work, right after work or during lunch in order to arouse the least suspicion, but you’ll probably need a cover story in case things run long. Personally, we like the vague but all-encompassing “appointment.” You do, in fact, have an appointment. You are meeting someone at a pre-determined time. But the word carries enough weight and suggests enough Serious Business to hush up even the most determined office Nosy Nellie. If you really want to bring out the big guns, tell them it’s a personal matter, which both shuts them up and makes you sound mysterious and exciting, like you may be inheriting your late great-uncle’s oil wells.

Do you have other job search subterfuge tips? Let us know. Tweet them to @loftresumes or send us an email.