Searching for a job while employed can be done if you are careful.
If your current IT job is less than ideal, one recourse you have is to look for a new job while remaining in your current position. Conducting a job search can cause problems for you if your current employer realizes you are looking; however, there are some ways to look for a new job without risking your employer finding out.
Don't Tell Co-Workers
If you tell even one person about your job search, you may be telling everyone, according to corporate veteran and author Andy Teach. While you may be able to use contacts at work for networking and getting information about new IT jobs, it may not be worth the backlash you could face in the form of an angry boss, who may feel betrayed by your search and may do anything from denying you opportunities to taking steps to terminate you.
As part of keeping things quiet, you don't want to use any of your supervisors or other staff members as references on applications or give out your work contact information. You can also ask the companies interviewing you not to contact your current employer until you have accepted an offer with them. You will also want to schedule interviews during non-work hours if you can't take personal time without saying why. You also want to avoid using company computers and other equipment to conduct your search.
Mum's the Word on Social Media . . .
Although you should keep your LinkedIn profile updated, it's not a good idea to mention your job search anywhere on social media, even if your boss isn't one of your contacts. Lots of companies monitor their employees' social media, and even if yours doesn't, others may see it and spread the word. The rule of thumb is to never post anything on social media that you don't want made public.
Job searching while still employed requires confidentiality and care.
. . . And On Job Boards, Too
Employers routinely check job boards for resumes to fill open positions, so if you post yours, they are bound to see it eventually. It's best to network in person or through email and phone, which can be kept more private.
Keep Working Hard
It's difficult to split your attention between your job and an IT job search, but it's important not to slack off at your job during this time. There are reasons why you decided to conduct a job search while still working your current job; maintaining sufficient cash flow and continuing to build your career are probably major ones. If you slack off, you run the risk of being fired or demoted, which will not help your job search or your bank account.
If Your Boss Asks You, Be Honest
Chances are, if your boss asks you about a job search, the cat is out of the bag. If you deny it at that point, you will expose yourself as dishonest and further hurt your prospects of leaving on good terms. You can spin things a little bit though, by saying that you weren't sure about your job security and wanted to have something to fall back on if you were let go.
GDH Consulting assists IT professionals with their job searches, whether they are currently employed or not.