Searching for a job while you're currently employed can be tricky, especially if you don't want your current employer to know you're looking for a job.
You need to be particularly careful when scheduling job interviews. It's hard to navigate around your job's schedule when another company requests an interview with you during business hours. You don't want your boss to know just in case the opportunity falls through -- after all, the job you have now is better than no job -- so you must keep your job search discreet.
But, that doesn't mean you have to let your current job hold you back from taking the opportunity to land your dream job. Here are some great tips for going on job interviews without your boss knowing:
1. Use Vacation Time For Interviews
Hopefully, you got a chance to take a vacation this year. But, if you're like the 40 percent of Americans who didn't plan to use your vacation time this year, you have an advantage here.
When you can, schedule your interviews a week or two in advance to give your boss adequate notice about your planned vacation day. You don't have to be specific about where you are going or what you are doing exactly, but have something in mind in case your boss asks.
If you aren't good at lying, plan a mini-vacation that same day before or after the interview to clear your conscience and take a breather.
2. Schedule Interviews Before And After Work
If you're short on comp time or vacation hours at your current job, ask your interviewer if he can meet with you before or after work. Coming in early or staying late isn't always ideal, but if the hiring manager is truly interested in you, he might be willing to adjust his schedule.
3. Use Your Lunch Break
Although the traditional lunch break is becoming endangered, use one for a quick midday interview. Ask your interviewer if she can meet at a nearby cafe. If an hour or less doesn't give you enough time, ask your interviewer if she can split up the interview into two lunch meetings.
4. Use Only Your Personal Technology
As you communicate with other companies, only use your personal phone and computer. One out-of-the ordinary phone call could make you look suspicious. One look in your work computer's search history could reveal to everyone you're a flight risk.
Whenever possible, find time to communicate with your prospective employers at home or on break via email or social networking platforms, using your own laptop or mobile device.
Additionally, be sure to keep your job search out of the office and set all your social network updates to private so your co-workers can't track your job search activity.
One of the biggest challenges for currently-employed job seekers is finding time to work on career changes alongside a full-time job. Leaving work for a job interview can be nerve-wracking, but you shouldn't let that stop you. As long as you are tactful, you can leave the office for an interview without your boss knowing. Off-the-clock time is your personal time. Don't be afraid to use it!
What are some creative ways you've sneaked out of your job for an interview? Share with us in the comments below?
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.