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How Can I Look for a New Job Without Offending My Boss?

Dear J.T. & Dale: I am currently employed, but am very unhappy with the unpaid hours that are expected. I've been submitting my resume to job postings on the Web, and I would like to attend an upcoming job fair and meet employers "in person." Unfortunately, my current employer also will be attending the job fair. Is there any way I can go to the fair without offending my current employer? - Steve DALE: Being seen at a job fair is nearly as blatant as putting a stack of your resumes in a "Free, Take One" display in the lobby of your office building. Anytime you are openly looking for work, you are "calling out" your employers, challenging them to either renegotiate or replace you. J.T.: In this economy, I wouldn't risk the possibility of ending up without a job. Honestly, the job fair is going to prove about as effective as the submission of your resume to job postings online - not very. DALE: Whoa. I've been to job fairs where people are being actively recruited, some even being hired on the spot. J.T.: True, but most new jobs come through a personal connection. Hiring managers like to hire people who come in via someone they trust. I suggest that you identify companies you want to work for and then begin to network into them. This is how you find a new job without jeopardizing your current one. DALE: Speaking of your current job, it's disheartening to see how much companies are demanding of employees beyond the traditional workweek. That's another reason to network your way into a company - you need to get a realistic appraisal as to whether it truly will be a more agreeable culture. Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale via e-mail at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Look for new job image from Shutterstock