Do you plan on working at your current IT job forever? Nope, I didn’t think so. In fact, there’s a very good chance that you won’t be working for the company that you are currently working at forever. What this means is that you’ve got to start that search for your next job now. Oh, and you’ve got to keep it a secret…
Sometimes we IT leaders get just a little bit too caught up in ourselves. This happens when we think that our technical skills or job experience will do the speaking for us when we next go looking for a job. Bad news, finding your next job won’t happen this way.
The key to a successful IT Leader’s job search is to prepare for your next job long before it becomes necessary to go looking for it. You know what I’m going to say next: you’ve got to keep up with what’s going on in your professional network. This network needs to include people both inside your current company as well as outside it. Keeping up with your network is important because you don’t want your networking activities to suddenly trigger suspicion among your coworkers.
It is possible to keep the search for your next job invisible. The key is to make sure that you are always meeting with professional contacts, attending industry gatherings, and (of course) being active on social networking sites.
This being said, you can overdo the social networking thing. For example, in LinkedIn updates on changes to your account are sent out to your contacts. Fellow workers may start to notice it if you all of a sudden start to gather new recommendations to your LinkedIn account. Not just social networking can be a tip off, if you dramatically improve how you dress in order to combine your current job with interviews, then your coworkers are certain to notice.
This all leads to the most delicate of questions: when should you tell your current boss that you are planning on leaving? I can answer this one for you: as late in the process as possible. Since you can never really be sure how your current employer is going to react to your announcement that you are leaving, it’s best to provide yourself with as much time to get your act together as possible. My suggestion here is to make it so that if after you make your announcement your boss blows his / her top and angerly orders you to leave the building, you are ready for it.
The second most delicate question has to do with what you should say if your company (or boss) conducts an exit interview with you. When I left my first job, I was young and naive. When they asked me what I would have changed in my old department, I opened up with both barrels. Not a good idea!
Only as I’ve grown older have I come to realize that the real purpose of an exit interview is to detect if the company is going to be facing any discrimination lawsuits. What you say about your boss / department / job might get written down, but in the end it probably won’t have much of an impact.
So there you go, IT Leaders should always be searching for their next job. This search should involve talking with real people as well as connecting online. You can keep this search a secret for as long as you want it to be, but make sure that you prepare to leave before you tell your boss that you are leaving!
How do you search for your next job when you are currently working for another company? When do you think that you should tell your current boss that you are leaving? How important do you think that online social networking will be in finding your next job? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.