Updated: Dec 6, 2018
It can be tricky to look for a new job when you are already employed full-time. You are planning to transition out of your current role, but you don’t want your company to find out that you are on the job hunt.
This situation raises questions about who to tell, who you can trust to keep things confidential, and how to adapt your job search methods accordingly. It can be helpful to consult with a Career Coach about how to fine-tine your job search methods to keep your secret safe, but in the meantime, here are 5 tips to get you started:
First, only confide in family members, friends, or coworkers whom you are certain will keep your job search confidential. Telling them in a one-on-one setting is preferable because it is harder to control how information is heard and shared in a group setting. Similarly, when you meet with hiring managers for networking meetings or interviews, clearly and politely request that they not spread the word that you are looking for new opportunities.
Second, don’t use your work email or company phone for job search activities. Work email and wifi are sometimes subject to monitoring by your employer, and realistically speaking, you don’t want others to think you are using paid/company time for personal use anyway. So it’s best to use your own email address and cell phone outside of office hours.
Third, do not respond to job ads posted by staffing agencies or recruiters which omit the name of the employer who is hiring. If you do, you may end up applying for a job posted by your own company and that is one sure way to blow your cover!
Fourth, be especially tactful at networking events. This is tricky because if you reveal to strangers that you are looking for work, word might circulate back to your employer, which is a no-no. So instead of networking as a job seeker, portray yourself as someone currently employed but open to new opportunities for developing your career. It also goes without saying that networking events with your employer in attendance are off limits.
Fifth and finally, be honest and discrete when preparing for job interviews. If your interview is scheduled during normal working hours, don’t use the “doctor’s appointment” excuse. Just be honest and take the time off for personal reasons. Also be mindful not to wear your interview clothes on the job since that is a sure sign that something is up! Instead, store your interview clothes discretely at work and change into them at a private location before the interview.
These are just five ways you can covertly job search as a full-time employee. Perhaps you have other ideas, and that’s ok too! The main point is to be discrete and have integrity in what you do.