Approaching a Competitor for a Job Can be Tricky Business
So you’ve been eyeballing a great company for some time now. You know that it offers everything you’ve been looking for and you’re more than eager to apply for a position there. However, there’s only one problem, the company is your employer’s direct competition.
This may feel like a problem; however, the truth is you are entitled to pursue employment with a competitor under most circumstances. But just to make sure that you approach the situation appropriately, let’s take a look at a few tips to help you move in the direction of your current employer’s competition for a job.
Find Out Whether You’ve Signed a CNC
Your first issue with approaching a competitor of your employer is to know whether you’ve signed a non-compete clause, also known as a covenant-not-to-compete (CNC). Often times, it’s difficult to know everything that you signed when you were thrust a ton of papers during your orientation, which is why it’s that much more important that you dig through them to see if you’re contractually prohibited from working with direct competition.
If you discover that you have signed a CNC, this is the time to read the terms of the contract. Very often, you may be required to not be employed by the company you’re under contract with for one year before you can sign with competition. Some contracts require more or less time. If you feel that your CNC doesn’t offer a fair time period, you may need to consult with a lawyer who specializes in employment law. Whatever you discover with your contract, it’s good to make it a great lesson learned for if you do decide to sign on with a new company.
Make Special Adjustments to Your Resume
When developing your resume for a competitor, you want to make sure you’re as discreet as possible. In other words, you may want to leave off some things that
you could be penalized for later. You definitely don’t want to bad talk your current employer in any way. Also, you don’t want to include specifics in your accomplishments that could point to competition with the new employer. The idea is to show a ton of respect to both parties involved.
As for how much information to disclose about your current employer, it’s a good idea to disclose as little as possible. On your resume in the spot where you would list the company name, you might replace your company’s actual name with “Company Confidential” while noting that the company is in the prospective employer’s marketplace. Also, if you’re sure that you have not signed a CNC, it’s good to note this in the cover letter or introduction email so that the employer won’t feel apprehensive about considering you.
There is no doubt that a competitor could hire you; in fact, some companies enjoy luring employees away from their competition. However, if you’re lucky enough to get hired into a better position with a better company, you still may want to walk on egg shells for a while – not mentioning your previous employer unless necessary. You don’t want to burn the bridge you just crossed since you may one day have to cross back over it.
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Published on Jan 2, 2010
It can be risky to apply for employment with your employer’s competition. If you decide this is something you want to do, there are a few t...