How to Look For a Job When You Have One

Finding a job takes time. It's even tougher when you're already working.

Here are some tips from Jackie Keagy, an outplacement counselor at Personnel Decisions in Minneapolis.

* You don't need to tell your employer you're looking. In fact, most career counselors advise against it. Bring the boss into the loop when you have a firm offer, but not until then. Don't tell colleagues, either. The boss will hear about it.

* Don't make yourself a lame duck. Take advantage of opportunities at your current job - make yourself valuable - even if you don't think you'll be around. You never know how long your job search will take.

* Be responsible about time. You'll likely have to take time off during working hours. It's a good idea not to say why you'll be gone. Still, let your boss know you will be out and that you will make up the work. Or use vacation time. Then you don't have to explain yourself.

* Think hard before asking people for references. Can they keep your job search quiet?

* Don't use your current company's letterhead, photocopier, or postage meter. It makes a poor impression on potential employers. Some experts even advise against putting your work number on your rsum.

* Be careful what you reveal about your current company. The people who interview you may seem interested in what you say, but if you reveal company secrets, they won't want you working for them.

* Don't bluff and tell your current employer you've accepted another offer if what you want is a raise or a better assignment. You might not get it, and even if you do, you could erode the boss's confidence in your commitment to the company. If you say you've got another offer, be ready to take it.

* Tell your immediate supervisor first, not your office friends, that you're leaving. And when you do spread the news, give it a positive spin. Don't criticize your current company. People often end up working again for a previous employer.

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