Hiring in the technology field is starting to pick up. In fact, a net 5 percent of CIOs polled for the latest "Robert Half Technology Hiring Index and Skills Report " plan to add IT staff in the second quarter. The results are up two points from the first quarter’s forecast and are three points higher than the projection a year ago. That means more opportunities are presenting themselves, and now may be the right time to make a move.
If you’re employed, you don’t want your search for a new opportunity to jeopardize your current job. Follow these tips for successfully — and confidentially — looking for work while employed.
Consider internal opportunities. This should be your first course of action. Consider whether it’s your job that makes you unhappy or the company itself. If it’s the former, you might be able to adjust your role so it becomes more satisfying. For example, would you like additional responsibility or the opportunity to manage others? Speak with your supervisor about the aspects of your position you’d like to change and how modifying your job could benefit you and the firm. He or she might even suggest other opportunities within the organization that align with your interests and abilities.
Keep it to yourself. As excited as you may be about the possibility of locating a new job, don’t let anyone at work know about your desire to find greener pastures. Even if you’re close to someone else on the IT team, resist the temptation to clue him or her in. Why risk that sort of information making its way back to your manager? Keep in mind, though, that you could give away your job search even without saying anything to others. If you choose to wear a business suit to an employment interview — as more than one-third (35 percent ) of CIOs in a Robert Half Technology survey advised — suspicions may arise if the dress code within your department is less formal. In this instance, bring a change of clothes to keep your secret under wraps.
Do so on your own time. You shouldn’t try to find a new job on your company’s time. For one thing, it’s not fair to your employer, who’s paying you to perform your duties, not surf the Web for other opportunities. It’s also one of the easiest ways to clue in your boss about your search. Many firms monitor employee Internet usage, so frequent visits to online job boards may not go unnoticed.
Along the same lines, don’t use your firm’s office supplies, such as stationery or stamps, or equipment like the printer or copier, for your job search efforts. These resources may be convenient, but it’s simply not ethical to use them for this reason. At the same time, others could see evidence you accidentally leave behind — like a copy of your resume at the communal printer.
Keep it personal. Don’t give potential employers your work e-mail or phone number. It’s bad form and could make for an awkward situation. For instance, how would you react if a hiring manager called you at work for a quick phone interview? In addition, remember that any communication you have with hiring managers — whether by phone or e-mail — should be conducted outside of normal work hours or during your breaks.
Post with caution. When posting your resume online, be careful about where you submit it and how it’s posted. After all, you wouldn’t want anyone at your current firm stumbling upon it. Many job boards provide tools that allow you to keep information such as your name and employer confidential, so familiarize yourself with these settings.
Prepare to be discovered. Even if you take every precaution to prevent colleagues from finding out about your job search, there is always a chance that the truth will be unearthed. A potential employer you contact may be in your current supervisor’s professional network, for example, and let your boss know about your interest in locating another opportunity. So be ready if someone asks why you are searching for a new job and think about how you might handle the ramifications of this news leaking.
One way to improve your odds of finding a new job is to partner with an IT recruiter. These professionals are experts at conducting confidential employment searches for the job seekers they represent, and they can effectively work on your behalf while you’re in the office. Best of all, their services are free to you. So consider enlisting another person’s help in finding your next opportunity.
Dave Willmer is executive director of Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals for initiatives ranging from e-business development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. He can be reached at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.