How to Secretly Search for a New Job (Without Your Manager Finding Out)


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Thursday, September 22, 2022

It’s one thing to search for a new position when you’re unemployed, but doing so when you already have a job can be even more challenging.

Article 4 Minutes
How to Secretly Search for a New Job (Without Your Manager Finding Out)

There are many reasons people want to change jobs, whether it’s to achieve a better work-life balance, career advancement or to improve their skill set.

However, there are many factors to consider when trying to look for a job without alerting your current employer. Add things like social media and privacy into the mix, and job seeking when employed can become even more stressful.

You don’t want to cause friction in your current role, but you also don’t want to pass up an exciting opportunity. If you want to part on good terms, it’s important to carry out your search in the right way.

Keep your job hunt and your current position separate

It might seem obvious, but make sure not to search or apply for new jobs on the clock. It’s important to keep your current role and your hunt for a new position separate so that you don’t put your reputation on the line.

Avoid spending time at work updating your resume, writing cover letters or sending out applications. Doing this might cause you to fall behind on current projects or lead to issues when it comes to managers holding you accountable for the work you’ve completed.

It’s also important to note that, in some cases, searching or applying for positions on a work computer can be traced - which is guaranteed to cause friction between you and your employer.

Therefore, make sure you conduct your job search in your own time.

Prepare the right answers

If you’re seeking a new job while employed, it’s likely that new companies will ask about why you want to leave your current role.

Whatever your reasons, be sure to keep a positive spin on things rather than bad-mouthing your current employer. For instance, if you don’t enjoy the company culture you can say that you’re looking for an opportunity within a team environment.

Schedule interviews sensibly

Be mindful when it comes to scheduling interviews. It’s more than likely that these will be planned during working hours, which can make it difficult to find the time to slip away.

Be clear with recruiters about times that work for you. Try not to schedule back-to-back interviews either, as this can be stressful and affect your performance.

Watch your LinkedIn activity

A whopping 40 million people search for jobs on LinkedIn every day.

If you’re seeking a new position, the professional network is likely your first port of call. However, it’s also probable that you have connected with colleagues in your current company so they can view your activity.

Be sure not to publicize the fact that you’re hunting for a new role. Don’t comment on recruiter status updates or set your profile to “open to finding a new job”. Keep your job search off social media (at least publicly) to avoid people inside your company finding out. 

Consider your references carefully

It might seem obvious, but if your current manager isn’t aware that you’re looking for a new position then you won’t be able to use them as a reference.

Assess which of your previous employers or trusted colleagues can best serve you as a referee. If the hiring manager demands a direct reference from your superior, be clear about why you can only provide this at the point of offer.

If your manager is approached for a reference when they’re unaware that you’re looking, they might feel frustrated about your lack of transparency earlier on. Don’t let this jeopardize a positive recommendation.

Be honest if you’re caught

If someone at your current company does find out about your job search, be honest about it.

Although they might be irritated, it could also offer up the opportunity to have a frank conversation about why the role isn’t working for you. In the long run, this will help your employer understand the employee’s perspective and make positive changes within the company for future employees.

Alternatively, they might take heed of what you’re saying, recognize your value and offer you the advancement or salary increase that you might consider accepting.

There’s no reason why you can’t search for a better job opportunity while you’re employed. Taking simple steps and practicing discretion is all you need to do to ensure your search remains secret as long as you want it to.

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