Say that you've been looking at a new prospective employer for quite a while. 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 can seem like a problematic venture, but other than in very specific circumstances, you're entitled to the opportunity to look for a job with a competitor. 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 be legally unable to sign a contract with a competing company until you haven't been with your current employer for one year. 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 to draw attention in the "accomplishments" section to any specific cases where you'd helped your former employer compete against your new employer. 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. 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. 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.

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