The Top 5 Things You’re Doing that Signal, “I’m Looking for Another Job!”

Migratory employees everywhere, be warned: you’re not as sly as you think you are when it comes to hiding your job search from your current employer. In our over-connected and technology-powered world, your online and offline actions send clear signals, particularly when it comes to looking for job. It’s relatively easy to spot an employee who has become a job seeker. While this may not matter to you since you’ve already got one foot out the door, it’s important to understand that your employer, manager, and colleagues are watching, especially if you’re not ready to spill the beans. Here are the top 5 things that employees do that signal to employers that they’re on their way out.

  1. Massive Updates to your LinkedIn profile. When you suddenly update your skills, summary, photo and projects, you basically yell to the world, “Hey! I’m looking for a job!” LinkedIn is really mostly valuable for job-seekers, and your thoroughly updated profile is shared with everyone to whom you’re connected. Like your boss and your team…and yes, they are watching. The same goes for connecting to recruiters, competitors, or suddenly connecting to dozens of contacts at once. All of these are red flags that you’re on the market.
  2. The Not-So-Cryptic-Cryptic-Tweet or Facebook Post. You know you’ve done this before. We’re all guilty of passive-aggressive posts on social media – the thinly veiled posts that are really only supposed to be understood by your inner circle but actually send a clear message that there’s something B-I-G about to happen in your life. For example:

    Things are finally looking up! Big changes coming my way. Couldn’t be more thrilled. #passion #finally

    When one door opened to another door closed, I kept on walking till I found a window. #LoveRascallFlatts #timeforachange

    People, even if you think we don’t get what you mean, these cryptic posts send a very clear message and aren’t that hard to decode. Use caution when you send these signals on public social media.

  3. Create a blog or personal website. Resumes are SOOO 2007. What better way to showcase your coding/writing/design skills than a site that’s basically a living, breathing portfolio of your work? While highly effective, these websites do signal that you’re looking for a job – why else would you put work samples out in the public eye? Keep in mind that your colleagues and your boss may see your social media updates publicizing your new site – tipping them off to your upcoming job search.
  4. Hang out with former employees, then post the pictures all over Instagram. Friendships developed on the job often transcend work lines, which is great for networking and keeping up your social life. But as an employer, it’s very worrisome to see current employees frequently at a bar, meetup, or event/activity with multiple former employees. Those Instagram pictures of you drinking a pale ale with the entire former design/sales/marketing team? They scream, “I am on my way out, suckaz, and my old friends are helping me find a new job with a startup that STILL CATERS LUNCH.”
  5. Be sick. A lot. GO home early. A lot. A telltale sign of an employee out on job interviews is a sudden slew of doctors appointments that happen to keep you out for a few hours at a time – especially those in the early morning or the late afternoon that impact your arrival or departure from work. When typical attendance behavior in the office changes, the exceptions become very noticeable. If you’re going out on interviews during the workday, know that sudden and frequent changes are being eyed by management with a suspicious eye.

Everybody looks to switch careers – it’s normal and natural. Especially as you grow and evolve as an employee, it’s important to seek out opportunities that will help you achieve your goals. However, make sure that you conduct your search with the proper level of discretion, and know that it most cases, your contacts, colleagues and employers are much more aware of what you’re doing than you may think. When several signals noted above are sent in aggregate, you may draw unwanted attention to your search.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Lavuerre. CC licensed flickrcc.net.