How to Conduct a Confidential Job Search

One of the best times to look for a new job is when you already have a job. Currently-employed jobseekers are perceived to be more desirable by some hiring managers than unemployed jobseekers. Yet there are drawbacks to searching for a new job while you’re still in your old one. The biggest concern is if your current employer finds out you’re looking. Some bosses consider this “disloyal” behavior, even if they themselves would have no issue with poaching a candidate from a competitor.

Consequently, here are some things to avoid in order to stay under the radar:

Don’t respond to “blind ads.” Do not submit your resume for positions where the company name isn’t listed. More than one jobseeker has applied for “the perfect job” only to find it was their job being advertised!

Don’t use company resources for your search. This includes company time, company computers, AND, your company email address—not only is it probably being monitored, but also it looks bad to a prospective employer that you are using company resources to support your job search.

Don’t post your resume online. Not only is it likely to be found by someone at your current company, but also resumes posted publicly stay out there forever. When possible, apply only for positions you’re interested in, and apply directly on the company website instead of through a job board.

Don’t post about your job search on social media. Also, don’t post about being unhappy in your current job on social media — no matter how locked down you think your privacy settings are. Anyone can take a screen shot of your post and share it with anyone else.

Here Are Some “Dos” to help you remain undetected:

  • Do be careful who you tell.
  • Do let any recruiters you’re working with know you’re conducting a confidential job search.
  • Do set up a free (“generic”) Gmail or Yahoo email account.
  • Do watch what you wear and plan enough time to change before your interview.
  • Do keep up your efforts at work while you conduct your job search.

When conducting a confidential job search, don’t look for a new job, but instead, seek to be found. This means increasing your visibility — look for opportunities to write, speak, volunteer, and advise. Make sure you have a robust LinkedIn profile. Connect with the right people, and opportunities will find you.