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Let’s assume that you’ve been thinking about trying for a position at a wonderful company for quite a bit of time. You’re ready to apply, because this company has, quite simply, everything you’ve ever wanted. However, there’s only one problem, the company is your employer’s direct competition.
This might feel problematic, but in reality it’s usually okay to look for a job with a competitor to your company. 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. In many cases, you’ll have to quit your current position and wait one year before signing with a direct competitor of your current employer. 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 find out about your contract’s CDC agreement, it’s important to consider this portion of a contract every time you sign one, especially if you end up signing with the new company that you’ve been looking at.
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. You also don’t want your specific accomplishments to show times that you’d helped your old employer compete with the company you’re applying to. You want to be respectful to both parties.
As for how much information to disclose about your current employer, it’s a good idea to disclose as little as possible. For example, leave the spot on your resume that lists your current employer’s name blank or replace it with “company confidential,” noting in the process that you’re working in the same industry as your current employer. You might also note that you’re not under a CNC in this area, as it will make the hiring manager less apprehensive about bringing you in for an interview.
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.
By: Heather Eager