One of the best times to look for a new job is when you already have a job. It allows you financial freedom to invest money in your job search, and, in general— just be in a better place to look for a place you can fit better. However, of course, your biggest concern is your current employer finding out that you’re looking. Consequently, here are some specific strategies you should use when conducting a confidential job search.
Don’t attend job fairs. One jobseeker reviewed the roster of participating employers at a job fair and didn’t see his company listed. However, as he made the rounds of the booths, his current boss spotted him, leading to an awkward conversation and his departure from the company sooner than he had originally planned. Some job fairs collect résumés and distribute them to all participating companies. A few companies enter these into a database to search for their company name to identify current employees looking for new jobs.
Be careful who you tell. If you tell anyone you’re looking for a new job, let them know you’re looking for a job in confidence. Be especially careful about telling co-workers, as a colleague might accidentally let it slip that you’re searching for a new job — or they may see you as disloyal. If you do tell a co-worker, make it clear you don’t expect them to cover for you — you don’t want them to lose their job because of you!
Avoid posting your résumé online. Not only is it likely to be found by someone at your current company, but also résumés posted publicly stay out there “forever.” Even removing contact information might not help you from being identified. When possible, apply only for positions you’re interested in, and apply directly on the company website, if possible, instead of through a job board.
Let any recruiters you’re working with know you’re conducting a confidential job search. Ask to be informed before you are submitted as a candidate to a company. You might know your boss is friends with that company’s hiring manager — but the recruiter might not.
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.
Tell your prospective employer you are conducting your job search in confidence. Also, don’t list current co-workers or supervisors as references.
Don’t suddenly start attending lots of networking events if you haven’t regularly attended them before. However, if you do want to attend professional association or networking events, volunteer to help at the registration desk. You’ll get a chance to meet everyone who attends, without appearing that you’re trying to meet everyone.
Keep up your efforts at work while you conduct your job search. In fact, go above and beyond with what you’re doing in your current job. Companies want employees who are committed to their job, not their 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.