At some point in your career, you'll decide it's time to move on from your current company. Or maybe you accepted a job knowing that you'd keep your eyes out for something else. Whatever the case, you're looking for a job while working full-time.
If you have a great relationship with your boss, it'll make life a lot easier if you're transparent about your new job search. Those "I've decided to leave" conversations are never easy, but if your boss wants what's best for you, s/he'll be supportive and appreciative for the heads up.
Of course, a lot of us can't be totally candid about looking for a new job. For those who need to keep things quiet, here are a few tips to navigate this tricky situation.
1) Don't slack on your current job.
Finding a new job may feel like your #1 priority, but until you've walked out the door on your last day, you're still committed to your current company. Don't give them any reason to suspect that you're looking due to a lack of attention or decline in quality of work. If you have an interview scheduled and an important meeting pops up, ask the recruiter to reschedule. They'll understand and respect your commitment as an employee.
2) Ask prospective employers to keep things on the DL.
Don't hesitate to let prospective employees know your situation, and request that they keep things quiet on their end. It's fairly common, and will allow you to set boundaries with the companies you're interviewing with. The last thing you want is your boss finding out that you're looking by another company contacting her/him for a reference! It'll also make them more understanding of your interview and reference restrictions.
3) Avoid using company resources to look for and land your new job.
It's not a good look if you get caught using the company's time, phone, computer, or printer for your job search, interviews, and materials. Carve out time before and after work to search for jobs using your personal computer. Schedule early morning, lunch, or after work interviews, or suck it up and sacrifice a personal/PTO day. Use the "doctor's appointment" excuse only once—any more and everyone knows what's up.
4) Make sure your LinkedIn privacy settings don't give you away.
It's a good idea to update your LinkedIn profile before you start looking for what's next. But LinkedIn shares profile updates with your connections and followers as a default, which could be a red flag to your current company. Make sure updates aren't broadcast by clicking your profile photo at the top right, then selecting > Settings & Privacy > Privacy > Sharing Profile Edits, and change it to No.
5) Use discretion when telling people you're looking.
It's tempting to blast your network for help finding a new job, or to tell your work friends within the company that you're actively looking. But the industry's smaller than you think, and people talk. Also, spreading the word among your coworkers that you want to leave often lowers morale. This doesn't mean you can't tell anyone at work, or that you can't leverage your network (you totally should!)—just be selective about who you tell, and choose those you absolutely trust to keep quiet.
You got this,