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The Confidential Job Search: How to look for a job when you have a job

Keeping your job search confidential

If your job search has to be confidential, be sure you can keep a secret.

One of the best times to look for a new job is when you already have a job. Currently employed jobseekers are perceived to be more desirable by some hiring managers than unemployed jobseekers. Some companies even state in their job postings “Must be currently employed,” although some states have banned that practice in recent years.

Looking for a job when you have a job also provides financial benefits. Investing $1,000-$3,000 on having your résumé and LinkedIn profile updated by a professional résumé writer and buying new interview attire is easier when you have a current salary to draw on.

Yet there are drawbacks to searching for a new job while you’re still in your old one. The biggest concern is if your current employer finds out you’re looking. Some bosses consider this “disloyal” behavior, even if they themselves would have no issue with poaching a candidate from a competitor. A few companies have internal or unwritten policies that an employee who is discovered to be looking for a new job should be replaced “sooner rather than later,” so the employer is not stuck having to quickly fill a key position when the employee’s two-week notice is given.

For this reason, if your job search is discovered, the company may start looking to replace you, even if you haven’t announced you’re looking, much less leaving. Consequently, there are some specific strategies you should use when conducting a confidential job search.

Choose networking contacts carefully
Who you confide in about your job search can be critical to its success. You need to network to find out about promising companies and opportunities, but you don’t want to broadcast to the world that you are in the market for a new position. There are people you trust, and those you don’t. More to the point, there are people you’d trust with your wallet but not your secret. Don’t tell them about your job search. 

Say “It’s confidential.”
Tell those you do confide in that your search is confidential. There is no guarantee your confidentiality will be honored. Let’s get that clear right now. This is a risk you’re taking. Still, it is appropriate to let a prospective employer or a networking contact know that your search is confidential.

In the next post, we’ll discuss how to make LinkedIn work for you in a confidential search.

If you’re worried about your job search, contact me today to talk about how I can take some of the stress out of your day. Along with professionally written resumes, letters, and LinkedIn profiles, I offer weekly coaching customized to your job search issues. 


Photo credit: Amnesty International UK, license

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