Your career—and your bank account—could suffer if your current employer learns that you’re looking for a new job. You might be fired outright for your perceived disloyalty…or you might miss out on important assignments because your employer isn’t certain that you’ll be around to see them through—a problem if you decide to stay. Here’s how to keep your job search confidential…
Don’t let LinkedIn give you away. Savvy employers know that a burst of LinkedIn activity often presages an employee departure. Adjusting a few settings can greatly decrease the odds that your employer will notice your increased use of this professional networking site. In the “Settings & Privacy” section of LinkedIn’s Account menu, under “Privacy,” set “Manage active status” to “No one,” so no one notices when you’re using LinkedIn. Set “Sharing profile edits” to “no” so your contacts are not notified when you update your LinkedIn page.
Keep your coworkers out of the loop. Don’t mention your job hunt even to colleagues you trust. Information like this has a way of getting out.
Be careful if you work with the recruiting firm that recruited you for your current job. To protect its working relationship with the company, this recruiter could inadvertently inform your current employer of your desire to leave.
Network via phone or in person, not e-mail or text, whenever possible. This way, you minimize the chance that a written communication could be seen by someone you would prefer not see it. Ask everyone you speak with to keep the conversation confidential.
Don’t use your work phone, computer or e-mail for job-search communications or activities. Your employer can legally monitor these. Don’t make or take job-hunt–related calls from your personal cell phone while in your workplace, either—you could be overheard.
Related: Have business cards made that list your personal contact info, not your work contact info. Hand these out when you network.
Schedule interviews for before or after work hours when possible. Your employer is likely to notice if you start taking lots of long lunches or stepping out in the middle of the day for “errands.”
Related: If you normally wear fairly casual clothing to work but start showing up in dressy, more professional clothing on job interview days, this, too, will be noticed. Do what it takes to prevent that—even if it means, say, stowing a suit in your car and changing in the restroom of a fast-food restaurant on the way to an interview.