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12 Tips for Finding a New Job…Without Losing Your Current One

In an economy where jobs still haven't rebounded, those who are employed don't want to do anything to jeopardize their current job—including looking for a new one.

Fortunately, you don't have to put your career advancement on hold, or let opportunities pass you by. This article explores 12 ways to look for a new job, while keeping your current one safe.

1. Shhhhhh...
Choose your confidants carefully. Don’t tell your boss or your co-workers that you’re looking for a new job. Sharing this information with the wrong people will ensure that you’ll be moved to the corner cubicle while your boss searches for your replacement.

2. Use your own equipment.
Don't use the company telephone, voice mail, email, or fax machine in your job search. Not only is this unethical, but some organizations have the ability to monitor your communication. Conduct your job search at home, or bring a personal computer or cell phone to use off site during your lunch hour.

3. Be smart about contact information.
List home or cell phone numbers on your resume. Don't include your work phone or email address on your resume or cover letter.

4. Interview on your own time.
Don't schedule interviews during the workday. Schedule them for before or after work, or during a vacation week. If that's not possible, schedule interviews during your lunch break.

5. Honesty is the best policy.
Don't be dishonest. If you must take a day off to interview, don't tell your current boss that you were sick, or that your grandmother died. Instead, state that you needed to take the day off for "personal reasons."

6. Don't overdress.
Don't show up to work wearing interview clothes. Wearing a suit on casual Friday will be a dead giveaway that you're in the job hunt. If you are interviewing at either end of the workday, or during lunch, bring your interview clothes with you and find a discreet place to change.

7. Privacy please.
Use privacy settings on online job search services.  Most sites allow you to hide certain information, such as your contact information. You can also block certain companies (ahem, your current one) from seeing your information.

8. Keep it confidential.
Be sure to tell the companies you are interviewing with that your job search is completely confidential. Ask them not to contact your current employer, or share with anyone that you are searching. Even a mild comment to a seemingly uninvolved third party can start a rumor chain.

9. Choose references carefully.
Don’t use your current boss or co-workers as references. Organizations often check references on several candidates while making a final decision. Use managers and co-workers from past jobs instead.

10. Network wisely.
Don't use company contacts to further your career. Your current organization will feel betrayed if they find out you've been using their clients in your job search. Networking is important, but be sure to do it outside your organization.

11. Don't jump the gun.
Don't give notice until you have a written offer. Organizations change their minds for a variety of reasons before deals are finalized, and you don't want to be in the position of asking for your current job back. Wait until you're positive it's a done deal to share the good news!

12. Don't burn bridges with your current employer.
As long as you are at your current job, work hard and do the best you can. Don't check out emotionally before you leave. Be sure to follow proper resignation protocol by giving at least two weeks notice, and don't leave without tying up any loose ends. Remember that you may have to ask your current boss for a recommendation one day!

You can do it!
By making smart choices, it’s possible to conduct an effective, successful job search without losing the job you have. Best of luck in your search!