Should I Tell My Employer I’m Looking for a New Job?

How you start and leave a job is far greater to your professional reputation than anything in between.

There is no way around it, and damaging your reputation can be problematic moving forward when asked to give professional references from previous employers.  

Whether you are proactively applying to new jobs, or passively on the job market and just curious about what is out there, many job seekers struggle to know if they should tell their current boss or employer they are looking for employment elsewhere.

When you have a great working relationship and so much respect for your current boss, but know the role is simply not the right fit, it makes the decision to let them know you are on the job market even more challenging. When you want to make sure your leaving does not affect business operations, you naturally want to let them know to start hiring your replacement so that you can train them.

Feelings of nervousness and discomfort are also associated with telling your current employer you are looking for other jobs. You don’t want to run the risk of damaging your relationship with your current employer whom you’ll still be working with every day until you leave.

Timing is everything.

Being intentional with the timing of giving notice is highly important for you. Of course, as employers, we want as much notice as possible so that we can make sure we have coverage for your role and stop investing unnecessary time in training and developing you in your role when you are planning on leaving soon. But there is a fine line for your employer between being blindsided that you are leaving and having enough time to hire and train a replacement.

In the minds of many employers and managers, professional growth opportunities are often seen as retention devices – to keep you challenged and make sure you don’t feel professionally stagnant. When your company has received your notice and knows you’re headed out the door in the future anyways, you may be overlooked for these high impact and growth projects. It is also not in your best professional growth interests to give notice too early. While you might not be looking to take on more work and would prefer to “coast” through work until your end date, keep your mind open and don’t pass up an opportunity to continue growing your resume!

Whatever you do, do not give notice if you do not have another job lined up.

Good leaders and reasonable managers understand that giving months of notice isn’t in alignment with today’s working world and providing too much notice isn’t in your best interest (even if it would be in their interest). 

Without a new job offer accepted or another opportunity lined up, you don’t want to start closing the door on your current job and training someone new.

The purpose of you giving notice is so that your employer can plan – and that planning depends on your leaving. So at some point they’re going to expect you to leave so it is best not to give notice before you are ready to actually leave.

You also risk adding a lot of pressure to your job search if you don’t already have a new job lined up when you give your existing employer notice of leaving! The old saying is true – its easiest to find a job when you have a job. That sense of inner confidence (and lack of pressure) is everything. Make certain that you are job searching on YOUR timeline without the pressure of having your replacement waiting in the wings.

Plus, your job search may take longer than expected, your feelings about your current employer may change, or other personal factors could come into play and affect your job search. 

To answer the question the title of this blog proposes…

To put it simply, no, you should not tell your employer you are looking for a new job. You should tell them when you have a new job.

A 2-week notice period has become a very standard business practice, and for good reason. While it may not be enough time to hire and fully train a replacement, it gives enough time to complete remaining projects and find coverage for remaining responsibilities. 

We recommend focusing less on the amount of time (although it should definitely be a minimum of two weeks) and make your decision to give notice based on having already accepted an offer and received a start date.

For example, if you have already accepted a new job offer and have been given a start date that is 4 weeks away, you can give notice now.

If you are leaving your current position for a personal reason other than another job such as returning to school or moving, providing many months of notice would make sense since you probably have a more certain end date and there is less discomfort and awkwardness around your leaving. But, we would still encourage you to be intentional around when you give notice and evaluate what you know about your manager and employer when it comes to giving notice.

Remember, as we wrote at the beginning of this blog, how you start and leave a job is far greater to your professional reputation than anything in between. Sometimes when we have accepted a new, exciting job offer we tend to mentally “check out” of our current role but it is very important to solidify your reputation and do your best work until the end. Go the extra mile and offer to help document the processes and responsibilities you oversaw, help organize the files you used in your role, or anything that would help to ensure your role carries on smoothly after your leaving! 



PACE Staffing Network is one of Puget Sound’s premier staffing  and recruiting agencies and has been helping  Northwest job seekers find their “just right” jobs for over 40 years. A  5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE provides multiple placement options:

For more information on how the PACE Staffing Network can help you find the right Temp-to-Hire audition for you, give our Candidate Services team a call today at 425-637-3311 or send us an Email

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