Conducting a “Secret” Job Search

Managing a job search while you are still employed (without your employer finding out)


It is always easier to find a job when you already have one.  This is because candidates who are working somewhere are more marketable and desirable than those who are not currently employed.  This is an unfair, but often requested requirement from hiring companies and it  may become illegal in the future.  For now, however, it is not a good idea to leave a job if you don’t have another to take its place.   If you are currently employed, then this is a strong position to be in and you should make good use of it.   The trick is to find the new position without letting your current employer know you are looking which can be very tricky.  While it may be a good time to start looking for greener pastures, you do not want to risk losing your current job or straining a relationship with a boss or coworker.  Below are some tips for job hunting on the down-low.  Some of these are no-brainers, but sometimes we get lax.


Be discrete

Do you remember last year’s office Christmas party when John told Jerry about Cindy’s big promotion and Jerry told Jane who got really upset because she was up for the same promotion?  Even if something like that hasn’t happened in your workplace, don’t think that it can’t occur.   Do not tell your co-workers that you are looking for a job.    Also, if you work on a computer with Internet access, don’t search for jobs while at work.  You never know when someone is looking over your shoulder.


Also, use caution when changing online profiles on sites such as LinkedIn that will make it evident that you are searching for a new job.  If you make revisions turn the notification status off until you are complete and never post your resume to the site directly.


Use Resources Wisely

Aside from the danger of your coworkers finding out, it is not professional to use any of your current employer’s equipment in your job search.   That includes using your employer’s telephone, a company blackberry, and even the old fax machine.   Don’t use company email for correspondence, and please don’t put your company email address on your resume.  You never know who is monitoring your system or may come across something you accidentally leave on the printer/fax/scanner.  If you have to send emails, use your personal email account.  If you have to make a call, do it from your own cell phone and away from your co-workers.   Even reading the newspaper job listings while at work is not a good idea.


References and Interviews

Typically, you will use previous employers as a reference for a potential employer.   Although it should be commons sense that no one contact your current employer, if you feel insecure in their process mention that you must maintain confidentiality.  This should not hurt your chances of getting the job.


If you can, schedule job interviews around your current job.  Let your prospective employer know why you schedule around your work schedule.   A potential employer should appreciate your consideration for your current job and interpret it as a sign that you take your job seriously.   This isn’t always possible and if you must take a day off, be sure and use a good excuse.



It is always proper to maintain a cordial relationship with your boss and co-workers while looking for your new job.  If you get a new job, it is not time to tell off your boss or that co-worker who annoys you.   Don’t close the door on them or burn bridges.  You need their contacts for reference.  And who knows, if your new job doesn’t work out, the door could still be open at your old job!


Have you encountered any problems with job seeking while still employed?


By Anjela Mangrum, the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc.  MCS partners with industrial and automation manufacturing businesses to source and secure transformational leaders for critical hiring needs in Operations and Supply Chain.  They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x17.


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