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Are you looking for a better job while you’re still employed? Good. That’s the best time to look. But it’s also a great idea to keep your job search secret from your current company and boss so you don’t get fired before you’re hired somewhere else. How can you do that?
Don’t use your current job’s resources
If you have a company-issued phone, don’t use it to conduct your job search. Don’t talk to recruiters or do phone interviews with your company phone. Use your personal phone. If you don’t have one, get one. If a recruiter calls you on your work phone, give them your personal phone number. Don’t use company computers for anything related to your search—don’t look at job listings, check out potential employers, or email recruiters. Use a personal email for all job-hunting activities. And don’t use work time to interview with other companies. Either do all interviews on lunch breaks or after work (on your own phone or computer), or take personal or vacation time.
Don’t post about your job search on social media
Don’t post on LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter that you’re looking for a job. Use the direct message functions of these platforms to communicate directly and privately with potential employers or your network. (Make sure you have a good LinkedIn profile.)
Don’t post your resume on job boards
Not only will posting your resume compromise your privacy, it won’t be effective. The best way to get interviews is by contacting hiring managers directly—and these direct contacts will help you keep your job search secret. (Find out how to contact hiring managers and get interviews.)
Ask potential employers for confidentiality—or work through recruiters
If you’re in a specialized field or a small town, you may worry (with reason) that word of your search will get out. The best way to try to avoid this is to contact potential hiring managers directly and ask them for confidentiality. You can also work with recruiters, who tend to keep names of employers and employees close to the vest until it’s time to interview. Tell any recruiters you’re working with that you need to keep your job search secret. They can be a buffer for you. (Check out my book about How to Work with Recruiters.)
Don’t tell your co-workers that you’re looking
Even if you’re great friends with people at work, it’s unrealistic to expect that they’ll keep your secrets. Things get out. Stay safe and keep your news to yourself until it’s time to quit.
Use references from past jobs
The best job references are past bosses or supervisors. Use people from past jobs first. If the company is serious about making you an offer and wants to speak to someone at your current company, offer the name of a trusted co-worker or a manager you’ve worked with in another department first, and then the name of your current boss. Before they call your boss, let them know what’s going on and ask them to give you a good reference. Explain that you’re not leaving because you’re unhappy with them; it’s just too good an opportunity for you to pass up.
**Use our Hidden Jobs Finder to get interviews and keep your job search secret.