How to keep your job search top secret

By Robert Half 16th July 2019

While it can feel scandalous to go about a secret job search, confidentiality is important when you are looking for a new job while currently employed. You don't want to put your opportunities in your current role in jeopardy until you are certain a new role is the right move for you. If you're feeling like it's time for a change, the following job search tips can help you find your next role and leave your current one with good standing.

Check internal openings

If you are unhappy with your current position, consider the reasons why. According to Gallup, 75% of employees decide to quit their job is because of their manager. So if you are happy with the work environment, company culture and the company mission, try to seek out internal vacancies before going elsewhere.

Knowing the company and having the transferrable skills can mean you increase your chances of a career change.

Boost your profile online

LinkedIn is one of the first place hiring managers are going to visit, so be ready for them. Make sure your profiles, especially on LinkedIn, are complete and current. Include a professional profile photo, personal summary and up to date skills. If relevant, post samples of your work or links to an online portfolio. Don't be afraid to sell yourself; remember, your profile may be the first impression you make on a hiring manager.

Related: LinkedIn profile tips every professional should know

While you're at it, clean up your other social media accounts. Use privacy filters and keep all of your content professional.

While we are on the subject of social media, closely monitor your notification settings so you don't inadvertently draw unwanted attention to your job search. Job seekers often rely on LinkedIn, but this can backfire if your current manager sees that you are actively applying for roles with new companies.

Separate work from personal

A secret job search is just that, secret! Don't blur the lines between your current job and your job search.

Some common ways that can trip up job seekers are:

  • Applying to positions in the office. Don't use office equipment to submit your applications, as many devices save files to internal servers that can be monitored. Beyond that, it's simply not ethical to use your current employer's resources and time to job hunt.
  • Schedule job interviews in the middle of the workday. Your current manager may find it suspicious that you are going to private meetings in the middle of the workday. Try to schedule job interviews around your working hours. For instance, suggest a breakfast or lunch meeting, or see if the hiring manager is available to meet in the evening. If that's not possible, use a personal day or two for your interviews. Be conscious of your attire. If you show up at your casual office in a business suit, you'll be sure to attract attention.
  • Subscribing to job alerts using your work email address. Receiving alerts to new roles that fit your job search is a great way to find a new role, but receiving these to your work email address isn't the best idea. Using your personal email address means you can follow-up and apply when you are out of the office.

Related: Subscribe to job alerts from Robert Half today

Explain to prospective employers that your current company doesn't know about your job hunt so the hiring manager doesn't contact your supervisor or coworkers and spill the beans. Also, be careful about listing current coworkers as references — you never know whom they may tell.

Connect with a recruitment consultant

A key benefit of connecting with a recruitment agency such as Robert Half is that a recruitment consultant can confidentially run a job search for you while you’re at work. Specialist recruitment consultants can tap their deep networks of business contacts on your behalf to uncover suitable vacancies that haven’t been announced yet. And they can notify you right away when an open position fits your career goals, skills, and salary requirements.

Respect your current employer

Don't let your work suffer because the prospect of a new job has distracted you. Even if you're unhappy with your current job, remember that you still need to leave on a positive note, so stay focused on your tasks.

When you do find a new job, you want to leave on good terms, with your manager and coworkers feeling positive about your contributions to the office. You never know when you might run into them again.

Job hunting? Learn how Robert Half can help you today!

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