Networking for a new job when your specialty has a close knit community
February 27, 2017 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I need to find a better paying job but everyone tends to know everyone in my area. How can I navigate this without hurting my current employment situation?

Let me give an example of what I mean. Met someone with a foot in the door of a better employment opportunity. Turns out this person is on the board of directors for my current position. So now I don't feel like I can even tell her I am trying to find another job. Maybe if it comes up naturally over weeks of interactions? Like oh yeah I work three jobs due to baby, and she could say wow you need to stop that and I can say I won't argue. I feel loyal to Current Employer but the situation I am in isn't sustainable. At which point perhaps she would take it on herself to quietly make recommendations. But I just met her and even this seems risky.

I do like my current job but it is a non-profit position. Last year I got a bigger raise than anyone else in my program. But it isn't enough to be my only in, and I need to just have one job to spend more time with my kid.

Any suggestions on how to network for a new job when everyone knows everyone in your industry would be appreciated!
posted by crunchy potato to Work & Money (6 answers total)
The polite fiction of "I have friends who might be looking" is often used to smooth over this kind of thing. It's conveniently forgotten once some sort of mutual interest is established.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:06 AM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Your approach sounds good. You could also about their career ambitions (eventually, they'll ask you), or ask about the agency itself and express admiration to the point of expressing a desire to work there.
posted by salvia at 8:09 AM on February 27, 2017

I don't know too much about this, but I wonder if talking to a recruiter might be helpful? If you can find one in your friends or network (or even just cold-call and ask for an hour of advice), I'm guessing this would be the sort of thing they see and are used to handling discretely and classily all the time.
posted by Zephyrial at 8:22 AM on February 27, 2017

I think it can be gone (I commented above), but in some particularly mission-driven corners of the nonprofit world, you'd want to be careful about not seeming un-devoted to the cause. "If I could stay at Nonprofit forever, that would be my top choice! But it's getting impossible..." The three jobs is a really good point to raise.
posted by salvia at 8:27 AM on February 27, 2017

*done, not gone
posted by salvia at 9:23 AM on February 27, 2017

Why would the person in this example go around telling other people you're looking? Does the board of directors work that closely with you or is that involved in your specific position? I think you could get coffee under the guise of trying to understand where people in your position go from here and what the advancement ladder looks like. And I might just say, "I'm happy at Company and I love what I'm doing, but I feel like there aren't a lot of advancement opportunities here, so I'm trying to be open-minded about what's out there." I would try to work that into a conversation that is *not* about you being on the hunt for a new job. You don't have to say or act like you are looking for a new job to plant the seed.

I obviously don't know what specifically your job is, so maybe this is horrible advice, but I feel like there has to be a way to open the door without making it seem like you're eagerly looking to jump ship.

I'd also add: "I feel loyal to Current Employer" -- I doubt you need to feel loyal to them. They'll pay you as little as they can and fire you if they needed to, I'm sure.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:06 PM on February 27, 2017

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