New year, new job hunt? Employers are hiring again - maybe you're ready to move up your career ladder. Before you start blanketing the town with your resume , start by checking opportunities within your current company. Often the best chance at advancement is right where you are. If not, and you'll be job hunting from your current cubicle spot, you'll have to be careful about your hunt. Here are some top lies you can tell when you're looking for a new job. (Learn the steps that will help lead you to a new career. Check out Taking The Lead In The Interview Dance .)
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"I'm taking a long lunch."
You've sent out resumes and now you have the difficult job of scheduling that interview. Try setting the interview time around lunchtime, so you can slip away unnoticed. If you're worried you won't be able to make it back in time, consider enlisting a co-worker friend - just be careful who you let in on your job hunting plans. Sometimes co-workers can take your decision to leave as an attack on their decision to stay. Make sure there's no chance that your job hunt makes it back to your boss, or you might find yourself on the next list of layoffs .
"I'm visiting a friend."
Maybe your best opportunities include out-of-town interviews. If so, make sure you have a story ready when a co-worker catches you checking in at the airport or making travel plans. Whenever possible, try driving to your interview location; it may take just as much time to drive as it would to check in, fly, pick up luggage and rent a car. Driving leaves less of a chance of running into someone you know, like you might at the airport. Dress casually, so it's not obvious that you're heading out for an interview.
"I have an appointment."
If you can't schedule your interview at a time that will go unnoticed, try setting it at the beginning or end of the day. You can simply say you have an appointment - just make sure you make up for that lost work time by staying late or coming in early. The last thing you want is for your performance reviews to say you're slacking off on the job. You need positive feedback to get that new job, right? (Find out how professional resume writers can help you land a coveted career. Read Resume Scribes Seal The Deal .)
"I'm taking a personal day."
If you're lucky enough to have several interview requests, try to cluster them on one day. You can tell your boss or co-worker that you're taking a personal day, and leave it at that. In fact, using up your vacation time may be a smart move: unless it's stated in your contract, you probably won't be reimbursed for unused sick or vacation time. Try to avoid calling in sick for an interview - it takes your white lies to brazen ones, and will set you up for big trouble if you get caught.
"I'm looking for an opportunity to grow."
You've aced the interview and covered your job hunt with a safe white lie. Now what do you tell your potential future employer when asked why you're leaving your current job? Avoid bashing your current boss or position, even if you're miserable - it looks unprofessional and makes your interviewer uncomfortable. Say something tactful, like, "I'm looking to advance my career, and my current position doesn't allow me to do that." Everyone understands that you wouldn't be looking for a new job if you were happy in your old one. Just make sure you keep your answers and attitude professional. It'll make you look good and keep you from burning bridges. You can ask your potential employer to hold off checking with your current employer until there's an offer on the table - that's common practice in job hunts.
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The Bottom Line
You may have to tell a few white lies when you're looking for a new job while still holding down your old one. Make sure you don't use company time to search the web for jobs, or post your resume all over the web for your boss to find. Don't slack off at your current job. Keep your attitude professional, and you'll soon be moving up your career ladder - without burning any bridges along the way. (Without some basic knowledge, you won't get the job. Find out what you need to know and how to prepare. See Top Things To Know For An Investment Banking Interview .)