10 Tips to Keep Your Job Search a Secret

10 Tips to Keep Your Job Search a Secret

If you have a job, you can protect your current job and conduct a secret job search.  This process takes time and planning.   Here are tips that will help you reach the people who can help you and avoid the people who can cost you your current job.

1. Do your homework.  Identify the type of job you want.  Make a list of your skills and qualifications.  Be specific and honest with yourself.  As you read job descriptions, think whether your skills and qualifications will get you that job.  Think about whether the job is one that you want.  Limit applications to companies where you know there is a job opening for a person with your qualifications.  Every time you apply for a job, you are letting people at a hiring company know that you are looking for a job.  No one should know about your job search except people who can help you get a job.  Therefore, be careful and selective about when and where you apply for a job.

2. Limit discussing your job search with people who need to know and who can help you.  If you have friends at your current company, be careful about telling them about your job search.  Even though you trust these people, do not discuss your job search with other people at your workplace.  People often speak without thinking.

3. Avoid posting your resume on job boards. Anyone can buy access job board resumes. There is nothing binding people to secrecy.  Someone from your company or someone who knows someone at your company can see your resume on job boards. Corporate recruiters can download your resume from a job board and broadcast your resume to other recruiters.

You can post your resume as a “confidential candidate” on a job board.  You can also hide your contact information and use general terms for the name of your company and your responsibilities.  However, as a recruiter, I never bothered following up on this type of resume on job boards.   Therefore, I do not see the reason in your putting your resume on a job board in any fashion.

4. Reduce your activity on social media. Do not mention your job search.  It is never a good idea to post social media updates on any travel. Certainly avoid posting anything about activity that creates suspicion about your job search.

5. Polish and update your online profile.   Add a current picture. However, consider adjusting your privacy settings to block people from getting emails on your updates.  This step will reduce the risk that people in your company will see the social media activity about your career.

6. Use your personal cell phone for your job search.  Put that number on your resume.  Tell recruiters and hiring companies not to call you on your company office phone.

7. Label your search “confidential.”  When you send your resume to a hiring company, include a cover letter or email that states that you are conducting a confidential search.  Put the word confidential on your resume.  When you speak with hiring managers and recruiters, ask them for their commitment to keep your search to themselves. Ask recruiters for their assurance that they will not send your resume to anyone without your permission.

8. Do your job search on your own time.  Take vacation days to interview.  Conduct phone interviews before you go to work or after work. If you have job interviews during your workweek, attend those interviews before work, during lunch, or after work.

9. Carefully select and manage references.  When you give references to a hiring company, get permission from each person who agrees to be a reference.  Only give references you know you can trust.  Ask each person to keep your search confidential.  Do not give references until the hiring company is making you a job offer.

10. Think carefully before you tell your boss.  If you can tell your boss that you are making a job change, you do not need to conduct a secret job search.  The time to tell your boss that you are looking for another job in a secret job search is after you have a written offer and you ready to resign.  Your supervisor is the last person you tell that you are leaving your job.

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