Workwrite Resumes

Stealth Job Search: How to write a confidential resume

A confidential resume can help you in your "stealth" job search when you'd rather your boss didn't find out you're looking.

A confidential resume can help you in your “stealth” job search when you’d rather your boss didn’t find out you’re looking.

You’ve decided this is the time for a new direction in your career. You’re pretty excited about starting your search, except for one thing. What if your boss finds out?

You don’t have to have a troll for a boss to want to keep your plans to yourself. Unless you know your supervisor would be supportive and helpful in your transition, successful or not, then keep your move secret. Think through how you both would feel and act if your search were successful, you gave your notice, and moved on. Think also about the consequences of an unsuccessful application. If your boss knows you’re looking and you DON’T leave, what then?

In most cases, employees at all levels opt for the stealth search. If that’s what you’ve decided, then, your first step is modifying your resume.


It’s a small world

Many industries are very small circles. Chances are you know your counterparts in other companies. So does your boss.

Although I don’t recommend online applications as your sole search strategy, you will likely run into situations in which you need to apply to an executive with whom your boss is acquainted.

This can be uncomfortable for all involved. You can’t stay incognito through the whole search process, but you can protect your identity during the initial stages with a confidential resume.

A confidential or “stealth” resume allows the hiring authority to learn your accomplishments and skills but not your name or location. Here are the changes you need to make to your resume to fly under the job search radar:

  1. Your Name: Replace your name at the top of your resume with Confidential Candidate. If you have placed your name, phone number, and page number at the top of subsequent pages, be sure to make the change there, too.
  2. Contact Information: Delete all of your contact information except a personal cell phone number. Create a new email address that you will use only for stealth applications. Make sure it contains nothing that can identify you. It could be something like ConfidentialCandidate2017@gmail.com.
  3. Summary and Qualifications: Make sure your title, summary, and qualifications don’t include company names, locations, or any other means of identification.
  4. Experience: Change the name of each company to Confidential Company. Omit the city and state of each company. Make sure the company description and accomplishments don’t contain the company name, location, or other identifying features.
  5. Publications and Presentations: Generalize these, omitting titles, publication names, and dates. For example: “Authored three articles in industry publication and presented keynote addresses at four global conferences.”
  6. Education: Replace the name of the education institution with “State University” or “Private College.” Omit city, state, and dates.
  7. Certifications: Omit identifying material. For example, if you earned a PMP, you could leave in the year but omit the month and location.

Finally, change the file name of your resume to omit your name. It could be Confidential Candidate – Resume or something similar.

If you email the resume, remember to send it from the new email address you created.

Put the name and numbers of the company you apply to in your cell phone so you answer a call from them without divulging your name, or at least not your last name.

If you must fill out a form rather than uploading your resume, copy and paste the information from your stealth resume into the form. Word documents often contain invisible characters that show up when pasted into an online form. Make sure after pasting the data from your resume  that no additional characters and coding appear.

If you’re not sure your resume will represent you well in a stealth job search, contact me right away. We’ll talk about getting your job search documents working for you.


Image courtesy Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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