After a little Google and five pages of this site's "leaving" tag, I still don't know if this is prudent: I've already sent out several applications and have not been called in for any interviews. Before I bury myself in any more, I want to know: there are one or two jobs on that stack that are most optimum. If I get called in for an interview for a preferred after having started some other job (these are all meager, entry-level positions, fitting for my first formal job), would it be bad practice, or even unethical, to go in for that interview without telling them of my other employment, and then discreetly quit the job as I begin the new one (the preferred job is completely unrelated to the other retail/service jobs, and not even in the same city)? Could any bad consequences arise if I do well to hide this? What are some things I need to watch out for to hide this (for example, not making my employment public on social media)?

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    What's your goal in hiding the fact that you are currently employed from an interviewer? Someone who already has a job is generally viewed as more desirable than someone who's unemployed, and will have greater leverage in negotiations. I can't think of a situation where pretending to be unemployed will improve your chances of getting the job. – Nuclear Wang Jun 14 '19 at 14:42
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  • @NuclearWang Oh, I just wanted to hide that I just go onto a new job and I quit as soon as the pastures looked nicer. Let me guess: that's not good? – user105748 Jun 14 '19 at 15:04
  • JohnnyApplesauce, Yes, you can do that (don't listen to the naysayers/downvoters). Retail/service jobs have huge turnover for that very reason. Another thing you could do are "gig economy" jobs like Uber or Postmates, or temporary/seasonal jobs. Just make sure that you have two different resumes. Because if your resume/degrees makes it look like you're overqualified for a retail job, you're not going to get a job offer for that retail job. – Stephan Branczyk Jun 15 '19 at 20:04
  • @NuclearWang Someone who has accepted a position a week ago is at the very bottom of the list for most potential employers. That person is willing to breach their contract with another company, so you expect them to be willing to breach their contract with you. Now in retail/service they usually don't care much about anything as long as you do the work, but there being employed elsewhere doesn't give you an advantage. – gnasher729 Jun 15 '19 at 22:56

I job hopped a lot. Like 6 two-year stints and one 8-year one. My advice to my younger self would be:

Apply to only one at a time. Take your time. Start from the most preferred one. If your are a great candidate, one of the preferred ones will get you. If not, it will just take one further down the list.

But the worse jobs are always the fastest to make you an offer, because they tend to be desperate. If you go one at a time, you can consider it in a relaxed fashion. You can simply state your demands as far as compensation and vacations go. You don't get into being pressured or into pointless salary competition.

Go slow, be patient. There's no rush.

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  • You are so right. I went to twice for desperate. You better be careful to take it. – the foreigner Jun 14 '19 at 15:48

When considering these scenarios, the best policy in general is:

  • Don't lie. You don't have to tell the whole truth or disclose things that are unimportant, but you should never lie. If you're in an interview and they ask if you're currently employed, and you are, you should say yes.
  • Be ready to explain yourself. If you have ambitions and a roadmap for your own future, don't hide it - be happy to talk about it. If you've landed an entry level retail job, and you get called for an interview as a software developer intern in another city, it's a good story to be able to show that you wanted to be productive and have an income while you were working on your big-picture strategy to get in to software development. In other words, there's no need to hide your current job.
  • Make sure you're considering future implications of your decisions. If you are interested in a certain specific job, and you get an interview, by all means pursue it. However, if you're a year down the road and you realize that "pursuing your dream job" has caused you to jump ship every 6 weeks, you might want to rethink your overall strategy. No one likes a job hopper, because they're a risk for quitting after the investment in hiring has been made but before any real benefit has been realized.
  • Put things in context. People change jobs all the time, employers expect it. Especially in entry level service or retail positions. If you get a retail job at a clothing store in the mall, they're not going to hate you for quitting three months later because you finally landed your dream job as a software developer in another city. They may be a little disappointed, but they're not going to hunt you down and make your life difficult.

It sounds like you've got ambition and you're considering what your roadmap is to realize your plans. That's a good thing. Don't get bogged down in the details of what you do to make an income, as an entry level worker, in the meantime. And if you don't get called for that dream job, don't be afraid to rethink your strategy, consider why you didn't get called for it, and change plans to increase your chances the next time around.

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