Blonde woman looking sheepish

Woman’s big mistake is a good reminder of why you shouldn’t job hunt at work

Elizabeth Bromstein|

Job hunting at work can get you into trouble. So, you should really be extra careful not to get caught. Unfortunately, sometimes you’re multitasking and things go wrong, like they did for Associated Press photo editor Karly Domb Sadof.

It looks like Sadof was captioning a photo for the AP while simultaneously crafting a cover letter for a Buzzfeed job, and accidentally cut and pasted a part from the cover letter into the photo caption. Gawker reports that she then sent the caption to all the AP’s newspaper clients across the U.S.

Jobseeking Gaffe

She reportedly caught her error quickly and, a source tells Gawker, sent out a correction.

On the bright side, she looks pretty qualified to be Buzzfeed’s photo essay editor.

Let this be a lesson to you, jobseekers. While it’s 100% true that, if you have decided to look for a new job, you should do so while you still have a job, since you are far more attractive to employers when you are employed, if you are hunting while working, be careful not to get caught, or you take the very real risk of getting fired.

Here are a few things to keep in mind* (besides not cutting and pasting your cover letter and sending it out to the entire country):

    Don’t use work computers to look for jobs. Your work emails and computer usage are probably being monitored. Your employer can easily know what sites you’ve visited and to whom you’re sending emails. Do your job seeking on your home computer.

    Don’t tell anyone at work that you’re looking. You can’t trust people to keep their mouths shut. You just can’t. People gossip, even when they don’t mean to be cruel or nasty. They talk for the sake of talking. Keep it to yourself. This means you can’t use anyone at work as a reference. You’ll just have to live with that.

    Stay focused on your current job. Don’t check out before checkout time. It might take a while to find something and you don’t want to seem less engaged in your work or start doing a bad job, which will both signal to your employer that something is up and give them a reason to get rid of you.

    Don’t announce on LinkedIn that you’re “seeking new opportunities,” or post about your job search on social media. These should all be obvious. If you do these things it is very likely to come to your boss’s attention.

    Schedule interviews outside of work hours. This can be difficult but if an employer is genuinely interested, they should accommodate you. Schedule meetings early, over lunch, or after work.

    Don’t start dressing differently. Or if you do, have a story ready. If you usually wear jeans and t-shirts to work and you suddenly start showing up all gussied, because you have an interview that day, people will suspect something. So, have a story ready, like you’re going to an event or on a date – and be sure the lie is 100% impermeable. Or change in the bathroom or in your car on the way to the interview, then change back.

    Let the prospective employer know that you would like your search to be kept confidential. Ask them to tell as few people as possible. Though this can make you look a bit sneaky, people will understand, and hopefully comply with your request.

The reports don’t say whether Sadof was fired or got in any trouble as a result of her gaffe, but if so, I hope she gets the Buzzfeed job.

*Forbes has 14 tips, some of which are listed in this article, for job seeking while on the job


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