How do you secretly look for a new job……. without risking the job that you have?

I get asked that question quite often.

All things considered, the best time to look for a new job is when you already have one.

There are many reasons for this strategy including the following:

  • The lack of desperation in having to secure new employment. You’re already working.  This makes exploring new opportunities a healthy way to validate the value of your current job or confirm that it may be time to change jobs.
  • Most companies prefer to hire professionals currently employed, rather than those who are “between jobs.”
  • The fact that you are currently working implies that another company found your background, skill-set, and education desirable.

So how do you conduct an invisible search?

Go into “stealth mode.” Become invisible with regard to your efforts to seek new employment.

Maintain the utmost in secrecy and other then your immediate family or loved ones; trust no one about your secret job search plans.

Even your closest allies at work must be kept in the dark about your plans. We as humans make mistakes sometimes and the last thing you need is for a well-meaning colleague to accidentally say the wrong thing that could compromise your confidentiality.

Mum is the word.

While no amount of planning will insure 100% confidentiality, the following tips will greatly increase your odds of success in conducting an invisible job search:

  1. Let the recipient of your resume know in no uncertain terms, that your resume must remain confidential. In addition, clearly mark your resume with the word “CONFIDENTIAL” either at the top of the first page or on the line beside the name of your current employer. This should provide a clear indication to all recruiters and hiring managers that you do not want your current employer to know of your search.
  2. Be stingy in sharing your resume with those other than trusted recruiters or hiring managers. Discourage such people from distributing your resume without your prior notice and agreement. It’s always a good practice to ask all recruiters to never send your resume anywhere without your permission.
  3. Don’t post your resume online on a job board or other resume site. Your employer can find you there easily and so can another colleague who could spill the beans. Besides, you will get far more junk solicitations than job opportunities anyway.
  4. Select only people who you strongly trust to confide in at networking activities. Engage these contacts one on one and make them aware that you are conducting a confidential search. Avoid going to job seeker group networking events in which the word could get out and your confidentiality could be compromised.
  5. Leverage LinkedIn as much as possible, but don’t look like a job seeker to the general public.You can leverage LinkedIn by sending InMail private messages to people while avoiding putting anything in your public profile which would make you appear to be looking for a new job. In addition avoid telegraphing your desire for a new job (in a headline with “Seeking a new opportunity, etc.) This may appear to be common sense, but you never know who is reading your bio.
  6. Schedule phone networking calls, phone interviews and face to face meetings during lunch or after hours. If getting off work to interview is difficult or impossible on your current job, then try to avoid using up vacations days. Instead, ask prospective employers if your job interviews can be scheduled after hours. Knowing that you are employed and wanting to maintain confidentiality, many employers are happy to make accommodations to your schedule.