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Sneaking around: 10 tips for a confidential job search

career job search job search advice job search tips Apr 10, 2023
apprehensive business guy

Are you cheating on your significant other?


Do you want to?


No, I’m not talking about a new romantic relationship. I’m talking about cheating on your boss to find a new job!


Conducting a confidential job search can feel like sneaking around. Trying to make time to find job postings, apply to them, and go on interviews is like running around on your significant other. It requires secrecy, timing, strategy, and – in many cases – feeling guilty.


Not to mention that confidential job seekers need to be careful about using LinkedIn. Many strategies that attract recruiters can also notify your current boss that you are on the market. After all, you don’t want your boss to see that you removed your “wedding ring” by putting a bold frame on your picture.


10 tips for a confidential job search:

  1. Prepare your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Always have your resume ready to go. You probably won’t have time to massively update your resume when you find an awesome job posted.


  1. Update your Job Preferences on LinkedIn.

While you don’t want to put the “Open to Work” frame on your LinkedIn picture, you still should update your Job Preferences. First, enter key details for your desired work, such as the title, location, and remote or hybrid roles. Finally, select “Choose who sees that you are open.” For a confidential search, only display your preferences to members who have a LinkedIn Recruiter account. That way, the right recruiters can find you, but you won’t have the “Open to Work” frame on your picture for anyone and everyone to see.


  1. Use smart keywords.

In addition to using the “Open to Work” selections, recruiters find candidates through the keywords on their profiles. Therefore, you want to use high-value keywords that directly relate to your career and industry to attract the right jobs. Then, layer those keywords throughout the profile, including the About section, the experience, and the skills.


  1. Use social media deliberately.

Be conscious about what you post on social media, including any “likes” or comments. Remember, people can see your LinkedIn activity unless you change your privacy settings. If you “like” a job searching article, that’s a big red flag to your current boss.


  1. Update your LinkedIn privacy settings.

Did you know that LinkedIn’s default is to share everything you do on the site with the entire universe all the time? Fortunately, you can regain control of your information to ensure that only select types of people can see what you are doing. While you may not want to block your boss, you want to mask some of your activity and connections. For example, you CAN shut down the automatic activity tracking within the Settings area of the site.


  1. Leverage LinkedIn Groups.

Join LinkedIn Groups that are relevant to your target job and industry. It’s a great way to connect with peers and potential networking contacts. However, if you join a Group specifically for job searching, update your Group settings to hide the logo on your LinkedIn profile.


  1. Be prepared to answer questions about your increased activity.

Your boss may notice if you suddenly update your LinkedIn profile. If they do, spin it – For example, you could state that you wanted the company’s clients to know you better.


  1. Stockpile time for interviews.

Reserve your sick or PTO for interviews, especially if you can use the “doctor’s appointment” to sneak out for a couple of hours.


  1. Establish a job searching schedule.

While it can be tiresome to devote one to two hours a day to your job search in addition to your job, nothing will happen without a dedicated effort. As an employed job seeker, you must make your efforts as efficient as possible. You don’t have time to waste just pouring over the job boards, throwing your resume at companies, and hoping for the best. You need a real strategy to maximize your return on your invested time. (If you aren’t sure how to do this, we teach people these tools through our Down & Dirty Job Search program.)


  1. Activate your network.

Contact your network to let them know you are searching for a new role. However, avoid your current co-workers. You can never be sure where people’s loyalties lay!


And if you still feel a little guilty –remember that most employers are willing to cheat on your relationship. It’s called “recruitment.”


Need help with landing that new job?

Our Down & Dirty Job Search takes you from goal setting to mastering the modern interview with effective, practical tools that will cut your job hunt time in half.


Our next group starts soon! Check it out:


Want a more personalized coaching experience? We offer the Down & Dirty as a private coaching program as well!

Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline

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