Friday, March 15, 2013

Job Hunting Tips & Telling Your Boss

Happy Friday, everyone! And welcome to new readers! I see more and more people following my blog or Twitter each week! Thank you! Below is a question I received that may be helpful to you too!

I have a great working relationship with my boss, but am starting to look for a more Senior level role. As much I want to be honest, I'm not sure if I should tell him that I'm looking. What's the correct approach?


Hi Allie,

Great question! And sorry it took me longer than normal to respond. Here are 10 things to consider as you conduct your job hunt.

A great working relationship is not the same as a great personal relationship/friendship.
1) There is a big difference between having a great working relationship and also having a great personal relationship or friendship with your boss. If your boss has the time, energy, and is okay with you moving on to another job, department, or leaving them and are happy to refer you and help you in every way they can, you have a a great personal rapport with your boss. If not, it may be best to play it safe, especially since you have doubts. Reduce risk as much as possible. What you don't want to happen is your boss or HR find out and they replace you immediately because you were going to leave anyway. They most often will want business to move along on their terms at their pace because you do work for them. To conduct a job hunt confidentially, only tell those people you MUST (the recruiters you are interviewing with, etc). The more you tell your co-workers the more likely it will get out. When you look for a job, also tell people you are looking confidentially because you are still employed so they can't call your current company. Make sure the reason you state is something neutral, but understandable - seeking a more senior role is a great answer.

Plan ahead how you will juggle job hunting and your current schedule.
2) Keep in mind, if you work work for someone high level and are basically chained to your desk, you have to find a way to interview while keeping up your workload at your current job. This may mean interviewing before work, during lunch, after work, or on the weekends. Keep in mind how long it takes to commute or how you will find a quiet, private place to do phone interviews. Realize it may take more than 2-5 interviews to get the job with one company alone. Start to finish, I had one job that took 15 meetings spread out over 3 months. Some weeks between commuting, phone interviews, in person interviews, and planning/searching/scheduling/researching everything, I was spending a good 25 hours or more just on my job hunt.

Give proper notice.
3) Let them control the end date if better. I have no idea what rank your boss is, but if he is pretty high up there or will take great offense you are leaving, the best thing may be to tell them you are looking and will work with them to hire and train the new person at their pace. During this time, you do NOT job hunt but do your prep work of sprucing up your resume, LinkedIn, putting your resume online, networking, and notifying people you can interview starting after a specific date. This will give your boss and company peace of mind that you won't leave them high and dry. It also gives them a chance to write you a reference letter, prep your department, etc. It's like a planned, mutual, friendly break up. If they hire someone within the company, it may only take a month or less. If they hire an external person, it will take a little longer, maybe 3 months. You can tell them you are looking and you will stay as long as they need you to train the replacement and say if that's one month or three months it's fine. This way a vague timeline is thrown out there by you as loose parameters.

The other option is to go interview and tell the new company during your negotiation, you want to to give more than the standard 2 week notice. Maybe say 4 weeks or 6 weeks if you think it will make parting ways easier on your boss. The point is to not burn bridges, but to leave with a fair and reasonable time line to all involved.

If you think 2 weeks is fair because your boss is cool and the timing of your leave isn't at the worst time of the year then 2 weeks is fine too.

In the past, there was no way I could work for a CEO of a Fortune 100 company and look for a job, so I would quit and devote FT to a job hunt. This also meant having a savings account to use as my income. This is an extreme example though.

Explore all possible options
4) You can try asking your boss for a promotion/better projects, a transfer to another dept, or to create a new job for you. If this doesn't look realistic, then yes, your best bet is to go to another company. The point is to examine all your options, create a dialogue if appropriate, or give your boss/company a fair chance to work with you only if you think this is the right thing for you and that they will be welcoming of it. A lot of this is based on how well you know your boss, the company's situation, and how likely this all is. If this is not the best idea, when you do start your job hunt, keep these things in mind.

5) List your resume confidentially on resume sites. While this is not be the best way to find a job, it does work so you have nothing to lose. List your resume on all the sites, but make sure that your contact information is not shown or your identity can’t be guessed by the job titles/companies listed.

6) Whenever anyone reaches out to you about a job, respond right away and tell them to keep you on file/in mind. This lets them know that you are timely, courteous, and like to/want to always hear from them even if you are happily employed.

7) Be active on LinkedIn. Be open to always connecting, constantly update your profile, and ask for recommendations throughout the year. This helps because if you never use your LI profile and you suddenly do, it looks suspicious.

8) Always network, meet new people, and helps others. It’s known that the best time to look for a job is when you don't need it. It’s good to foster relationships, learn new things, and volunteer because you’ll learn that you people will be thinking about you for jobs and seeking you out. Your job hunt will not be something that you have to “do” because it will be a by-product from maintaining relationships and giving back in general.

9) Job hunt with strategy, an end goal, and mid term goals. If you already know where you want your life to be in 10 years it’s much easier to figure out where you need to be at year 3, 5, and 7. You can have loose goals on how to get there and what you need to learn or do to achieve that. If you don’t know, go out and do a lot of things to learn what you don’t like.

10) Read my other blogs posts on job hunting and what to expect or plan for.

And if you have more questions, feel free to ask again! :) Happy job hunting!

***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you read the post? You can just write “Thx!” or something! :)

As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address. It usually takes me 3-4 days to answer.

I also write over at under Hollywood Executive Assistant.


  1. Hi Kiyomi,
    I just wanted to say that I love your posts - I'm a PA in the creative sector myself and you give excellent advice! :)
    I found your site today through Donna Coulling's and I look forward to reading your future posts!


    1. The Muser at Musing of a High Level Executive AssistantApril 11, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Adeline - So glad you found my blog and find my advice useful! I plan to post more tips later this week too. Thank you for the comment! :)

  2. Great tips for those job hunters who are having a hard time looking for one. Just be confident and boost your self-esteem.

    1. The Muser at Musings of a High Level Executive AssistantNovember 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      Megan - So glad you liked this article. Thank you for being a reader!