Sometimes, the secret to success in your job search relies on secrecy.
If you’re stuck in the wrong job, wishing you were somewhere else instead, it can be tempting to spend much of your time searching for something new.
Combine access to the internet with an uninspiring job, and many of us start our search for work exactly when we shouldn’t– when we’re actually at work.
Maintaining a sense of confidentiality is of paramount importance. And, if underestimated, could not only lose you the respect of your employer but also potentially compromise your position.
To help keep your aspirations under-the-radar, here are some dos and don’ts on how to keep your job search a secret.
Do keep it to yourself — Firstly, no matter how much you trust your co-workers, always try and keep your plans as confidential as possible. Venting your frustrations to your best friend in a different department may seem like a good idea at the time, but all it takes is a few loose words to the wrong person, and your plans may not be as private as you thought.
Do use your cover letter to indicate discretion — Employers can be quite understanding, especially if they feel they’ve found the right candidate. Use your cover letter to mention your current employer and your notice period. You could also go a step further by asking if the reader could resist contacting your current place of work for a reference until after you have given notice. That way, you should avoid any potentially awkward conversations with your HR department.
Do pay attention to your contact preferences — Job seekers have come unstuck by forgetting that their sending job alerts to an email address they access every day. Or, even worse, using their work email address to search for jobs. Create a personal email account specifically for your job search. You’ll know exactly where to go when you have a few minutes away from prying eyes.
Do step away from the desk — Looking for work at lunchtime? Don’t do it at your desk. Although their office space is the number one destination for many job seekers to search during the day, it contains some risks. Let’s face it, it’s pretty much the equivalent of cheating on your employer, right under their nose. And that can only end badly. With free Wi-Fi readily available, and practically everyone owning a smartphone, it doesn’t take much to relocate for your eating/application needs.
Do use a different device — If you really can’t resist the temptation to start searching, try and make sure you do it on a different device. Not only will this overcome the potential problem of opening the wrong tab in front of the wrong person, but it will also be much easier to keep confidential in the long run. What’s more, with many online job boards allowing you to set up job alerts to send the best-matching vacancies directly to your inbox, you can start your applications off before you even get into the office.
Other secret jobseeking dos: Be honest at interviews, go outside to take phone calls, remember to lock your computer, you know, just do it at home.
Don’t be tempted to pull a “sickie” when offered an interview, try and fit it around your schedule.
Don’t take an afternoon off or a day’s holiday, and do your best to plan multiple interviews during your time off. The second you start to rely on sick days, coming in late and leaving early, you’re setting yourself up for a significant fall. After all, how many people wear their best suit for the dentist?
Don’t overshare on your CV — If you work for a reasonably sized company, there’s a chance they may use job sites to carry out their recruitment. If that’s the case, a few simple tweaks to your CV could help keep you out of their search results.
Don’t leave your applications lying around — OK, so this one may sound obvious. But you ‘d be surprised how many people treat the office printer as their resource. Do you know how many people jeopardized their job in the last year by leaving their CV unattended in the office? We don’t either, but we’re sure it would make a pretty nice stat.
Don’t tweet about it — When it comes to job seeking, leave social media well alone. Even if you’re pretty confident your profile is private, and you’re not friends with your boss (add other excuses here), your social profile may not be as impenetrable as you think.
When you’re about to hit the send button after posting ‘Can’t wait to hand my notice in #hate #job #hashtag, think before you tweet.
Don’t burn your bridges — Finally, never underestimate the importance of actually keeping your job search under wraps if you are currently in employment. Taking a job offer for granted and letting your employer know what you think of them is not recommended, regardless of how well you think your application or interview went. Regardless, things could still fall through, leaving you with a rather embarrassing and possibly expensive apology to deliver.
Other secret jobseeking errors: Stop giving 100%, use your current boss as a reference, answer private phone calls at your desk, conduct a Skype interview in the office.
” 2005 Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey” suggests 76 percent of employers monitor their workers’ Web site connections.
So how can you search for a new job while keeping your hunt under wraps? Follow these tips.
Don’t Job Search on Company Time.
” Never use your employer’s email, computers, fax lines or telephone systems for job search purposes,” advises Pat Kendall, author of Jumpstart Your Online Job Search in a Weekend and president of career-services firm Advanced Resume Concepts. “Even if your employer is aware of it (and supports it 100 percent), it looks inappropriate to potential employers and may raise questions about your honesty or integrity.”.
According to Kendall, “Looking for a job in your current industry– especially if it’s a small, tight-knit industry– should be approached with extreme caution.” If you’re working with industry-specific recruiters, give them a list of employers to avoid if you think your current employer might hear about your job search.
I can’t over-emphasize the importance of discretion when distributing resumes.
Network with your contacts — those you trust– to help you make discreet connections to employers. Who’s in your system that you trust can keep your confidentiality? What are your target companies? Who do you know who knows a key decision-maker at one of these companies?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who could benefit from the relationship as much as you can. Employers often reward employees for bringing key players on board. Why not help your friends to be compensated by their employer for hiring you?.
Create a Limited-View Resume.
Most employers respect the fact that a job search is confidential, but there’s still a chance of a confidentiality breach when you submit your resume. On Monster, you may post a visible and limited resume, which hides your contact information and good resume content and ideas for Internet trolls to steal. If you choose to upload a Word file or copy-and-paste a plain-text version of your resume, make sure you remove identifying information before uploading to public job search websites, such as Monster and Indeed.
Here are additional tips to camouflage your resume:
Replace your name with “Confidential Candidate.” Be sure your name doesn’t appear in the file name or its Properties dialogue box.
Confine contact information to a carefully selected email address– one not based on your name or attached to a public profile with personal information.
Describe your current employer in general terms (e.g., “high tech manufacturing firm”) rather than listing the company’s name and location.
Avoid including product or target market keywords that would give away your employer or identity. Remove keywords your current employer might use if looking for someone to replace you.
Cover it in Your Cover Letter.
There are no guarantees that mentioning your job search’s confidentiality will prevent your employer from discovering your search, but it doesn’t hurt. Terwelp suggests adding a line like: “As this is a highly confidential career search, I would greatly appreciate your discretion in handling my candidacy.”.
Use Saved Searches.
It is recommended you use Monster’s Saved Searches, which search jobs and notify you of suitable job postings. This approach is safer, as it limits your resume’s public exposure.
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