Most of what we’ve talked about in earlier posts is what NOT to do to give away your stealth job search. There are some parts of a confidential job search that are proactive. Here is what you CAN do to protect your job search from being discovered.
Do be careful who you tell. If you tell anyone you’re looking for a new job, let them know you’re looking for a job in confidence. Be especially careful about telling co-workers, as a colleague might accidentally let it slip that you’re searching for a new job — or they may see you as disloyal. If you do tell a co-worker, make it clear you don’t expect them to cover for you — you don’t want them to lose their job because of you!
Do let any recruiters you’re working with know you’re conducting a confidential job search. Ask to be informed before you are submitted as a candidate to a company. You might know your boss is friends with that company’s hiring manager — but the recruiter might not. Better safe than sorry.
Do tell your prospective employer you are conducting your job search in confidence. Also, don’t list current co-workers or supervisors as references.
Do set up a free (“generic”) Gmail or Yahoo email account. Make sure you don’t include your name or any other personally identifying information — and also make sure it’s not a “cutesy” email address either.
Do create a “confidential” version of your resume. Put “Confidential Candidate” as a title at the top. Remove your name and contact information — except for your generic email address and personal cell phone number. (Don’t put your home phone number on a confidential resume — a reverse phone number lookup may reveal your identity.) Don’t include your current employer’s actual company name — instead, provide a generic description of what the company does. Remove the dates from your education section — having your degree, school, and year makes you easier to identify. Don’t include your name in the file name when saving your resume. And make sure you check the “Properties” box in Microsoft Word under the File menu to make sure your name and contact information doesn’t appear there.
Do watch what you wear. If you typically work in a “business casual” environment, if you show up in a suit (because you have an interview over lunch), that will likely arouse suspicion. Plan enough time to change before your interview — preferably not at your current workplace or the company you want to work for. Also be careful about making dramatic changes in your appearance (hairstyles, clothes, etc.).
Do keep up your efforts at work while you conduct your job search. In fact, go above and beyond with what you’re doing in your current job. Companies want employees who are committed to their job, not their job search.
When conducting a confidential job search, don’t look for a new job, but instead, seek to be found. This means increasing your visibility — look for opportunities to write, speak, volunteer, and advise. Make sure you have a robust LinkedIn profile. Connect with the right people, and opportunities will find you.
If you job search – confidential or otherwise – isn’t going the way you want, contact me right away, so we can talk about what it will take to get you back on track.