Quietly looking for a new job while employed at your current job is possible — if you know the right way to approach it.
Someone once said that the best time to look for a job is when you already have one.
Unlike when you're unemployed, looking for a job when you're employed allows you to take your time and check out multiple opportunities until you find that next best step for your career. In fact, recruiters and hiring managers tend to prefer candidates who are presently employed over those who are not.
There is, however, one problem with this scenario: You need to keep your job search from the notice of your current employer, and it can be tricky trying to handle your current responsibilities while also giving your job search the time and attention it requires.
Yet it can be done! Here are some tips to keep your job search under wraps until the time is right to reveal it.
Be wise at work
First, don't tell anyone at work about your search. It's incredibly hard, but it's the only sure way to keep the information from getting to your boss — even your most trusted colleagues and friends can slip up.
Other job-search giveaways include coming to work dressed for an interview and taking partial days off for lots of “dentist and doctor appointments.” Whenever possible, schedule your interviews outside of your workday — mornings, evenings, or even a long lunch hour. A recruiter that wants you will make it work.
If you have an interview before or after work, figure out a way to change into and out of your interview clothes so you don't wear them to work. Dressing differently can be a neon sign that you're looking at different jobs.
One final rule: Don't use work resources for your search. Many a private job seeker has been found out from the resume left on the communal printer or an overheard phone conversation.
Post your resume anonymously
When posting your resume on a job board, be sure no one can discover it's you.
Try these specific tips on how to update your resume for a private job search:
Put your profession where your name would be.
Take out specific contact information and instead just list your city and state.
Remove the name of your current company and replace with words such as “Confidential” or “Current Employer.” You can also simply describe your company's industry, service, or product.
Delete any other information — specific client or product names — that would lead your resume back to your current employer.
If this leads to networking or talking with recruiting agencies, be sure everyone understands that your search must stay confidential since you are still employed and want to tread cautiously.
Another good option is to put your LinkedIn profile in “stealth mode” while actively job hunting.
Related: 7 Reasons to Use a Recruiter to Find a Job
Stay private on LinkedIn
LinkedIn was created to help business people connect with each other and it can be a huge help in your job search, but there are a few things you must do to ensure confidentiality.
Turn off notifications: By default, LinkedIn is set to broadcast mode so it notifies everyone in your network when you post or update information. To change this, look for a slider button with the question Notify your network? below Profile Strength and switch it to No.
Update LinkedIn Privacy and Settings: Put your cursor over your profile picture and choose Privacy & Settings from the drop-down menu. In the Profile and Account tabs, you can:
Turn off your activity broadcasts.
Change who can see your activity feed by choosing Only you as the option.
Manage who you block.
Select who can see your connections.
Check your Professional Headline: Don't say that you're seeking a new position. Instead, give your current job title followed by information related to your work that would get a recruiter's attention. For example: Director of Human Resources for ABC Company | Coordinate and all human resource-related functions including recruitment, compensation, personnel records, and Equal Employment Opportunity.
Don't participate or post in any job hunting groups: Do read the comments and discussions and then privately contact people to network or ask questions.
These and other LinkedIn privacy options can help you quietly, but effectively, make connections toward your next job.
Choose references carefully
If your job search is private, you obviously can't use your current manager as a reference. At this point, you shouldn't ask your co-workers either, since they might give away your search before things are finalized. The best course of action is to use supervisors or co-workers from previous jobs first.
Once you've given your notice (and assuming that you're leaving on good terms), you can ask people at your current job to be a reference and then pass this information on to the hiring manager or recruiter.
It's definitely possible to seek and land your next job while still working at your current one. It takes a little extra effort, but that's all worth it when you walk seamlessly into your next career role.
Click on the following link for more job-search tips.
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