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1. TAP YOUR NETWORK
While it's not impossible to bag a job without a reference, it has been shown to increase the chances of a recruiter looking at your CV and, eventually, hiring you if you do.
When you first think about jumping ship, start networking and let your connections know you're interested in exploring new opportunities.
You may end up with a referral to a new position and not have to do much active job hunting.
If you don't directly know anyone at your dream company, though, don't despair — with the right message to the right contact, you can score an employee referral just by reaching out.
2. DON'T SPRAY AND PRAY
You don't want to blast everybody you know with requests for informational interviews.
You'll want to do this carefully and selectively because you don't want word getting back to your current employer.
On top of that, it's a time-consuming and ineffective tactic. Save time and mental energy by only applying to the top few companies that you think would be the best fit for your personality, work style and qualifications.
3. STICK TO A ROUTINE
It's easy to spend hours on end searching when you're looking forward to a new opportunity - or desperate to get out of your current situation - but even if it's exciting at first, you can quickly burn out.
Don't spend every waking hour looking for new employment.
Rather, get your CV and LinkedIn profile up-to-date, then spend some time each day networking and actively looking for jobs to apply for.
Dedicate a certain amount of time to your job search – even if it's 30 minutes or an hour a day.
Signing up for job alerts will mean you get fresh listings every day in your inbox, saving you time.
4. BEWARE THE WORK COMPUTER
You might use your work laptop so much that it seems like an extra appendage by now, but you have to tread carefully when it comes to company-issued property.
Even if you doubt that your company has the time and technology to monitor your usage, it's best to play it safe.
Don't use your work devices - computers, tablets, or phones - for job hunting. Be sure to use your personal e-mail address and store your documents on your personal devices or online.
One way to save job hunting time and avoid getting caught is to use job search apps on your personal phone.
5. SCOPE OUT A BOLT HOLE
If you are going to be applying for jobs then you never know when you might get a call from a recruiter on your mobile.
It can be difficult or awkward taking these calls at your desk, so scope out a quiet, private area somewhere that you can bolt to when a call does come in.
Remember to be confident and relaxed when you answer rather than furtive - it will create less suspicion among colleagues. Keep your tone light and breezy.
6. PREPARE SOME GOOD EXCUSES
Your boss will notice if you suddenly start 'going to the dentist' (read: heading out to interviews) a couple of times a week.
It may be possible to schedule interviews early in the morning, at lunch time, or later in the day.
Resist the urge to immediately accept any invite the recruiter offers you and make sure it's a time that works for you — if they're truly interested, they won't mind a small wait (within reason).
7. TAKE YOUR WORK ENTHUSIASM UP A GEAR
It may seem a strange thing to do, but try to appear even more enthusiastic and satisfied at work than normal.
If you are down about your current job, most people have trouble hiding it and give off an 'I've had enough' vibe.
This can lead to unwanted attention and might mean you get caught out. Throw your colleagues off the scent by appearing to be content.