Ask Dana: 9 tactics to keep your job search a secret while employed

9 tactics to keep your job search a secret while employed
9 tactics to keep your job search a secret while employed

9 tactics to keep your job search a secret while employed

Question: I’m currently employed in Charlotte, but I’m planning a move to Denver. I have an issue you might be able to help with. I am struggling with taking calls from recruiters or hiring managers while I’m in the office at my current job. It is hard to find the privacy to discuss job-related info or talk about my résumé and experience. Sometimes I book a conference room for planned calls or even take a call in my car in the parking lot.

Do you have any helpful ideas for handling job-search calls in the office?

Advice from Dana:

I applaud you for advancing your career while also staying employed, but it does make the job hunt more challenging.

Your current company probably has a policy prohibiting the use of company resources for anything personal, including a job search. Therefore, do not use your company conference rooms, telephones or computers for your job search. You may depart for normal breaks and use personal tools outside of the company offices.

Recruiters and other hiring companies understand that you are honoring your current company’s policies and your commitment to deliver on your responsibilities at work. They will respect you when you state your business ethics — there is nothing like a breach of ethics to turn off a potential employer.

Here are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. Follow these nine tactics to successfully execute a job search while employed.

  1. Be forthright with your destination recruiters and hiring managers. Say something like, “I am employed full-time and want to honor my commitment to not only perform at a high level, but also to avoid conducting my job search on company time or using company resources. Therefore, can we talk during these times?”Then state the windows of time you have and in which time zone.
  2. Do not tell anyone (even your closest co-workers) that you are looking or considering looking. There is no such thing as a secret. And if you’re found out, your management team will consider you disloyal.
  3. Change your LinkedIn settings so everybody does not get notified when you update your profile. To do this, hover over your face in the top right corner. Under “Account & Settings,” click “Privacy & Settings.” Then, under “Privacy Controls,” click “Turn On/Off Your Activity Broadcasts.” You want that box un-checked.
  4. Update your LinkedIn profile. Take the tutorials in the excellent Help Center. You should have a great summary, but it should not say “job-seeking” or “pursuing my next professional opportunity.” Your profile is still viewable by the public, including co-workers and bosses.
  5. Use former employers as references. Simply explain to a prospective employer that you can’t use your current employer as a job reference because you want to keep your job search confidential.
  6. Schedule interviews around your current work hours. Be honest with prospective employers and they will respect your integrity. In your case, you have a time zone advantage so you can take meetings after your workday.
  7. Take a personal or vacation day if you need to schedule a batch of phone interviews.
  8. Don’t ever talk disparagingly about your current or any prior employer. Always stay positive and script your answers to the most commonly asked questions such as, “Why are you leaving your current company?”
  9. Write your job search e-mails and thank you notes during your early morning or late evening hours.

If you execute your job search ethically, even your current company will be a future reference for you. Don’t take risks, and remember there are no secrets at work. We’ve all learned the hard way.


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