How to Job Search without your Employer Knowing


Want to find a new job but don’t want your current company or boss to know about it? Well there are certain guidelines that can help keep your search on the ‘down low’.

First of all, try not to search for a job on company time. But If you have to, use your smartphone to download the major job search apps from the big job sites like Indeed and our own Hidden Jobs app so that your web activity won’t be trackable on your company network.

There are also some new apps like Poacht, which anonymously connect job seekers with open positions at companies. You should also link any job alerts to a personal email, not your current work email.

Having a 3rd party recruiter at hand to do some of the leg work for you is also a good idea. They can shop your resume around for you, saving time while keeping your search quiet. Connect with a few staffing firms or trusted recruiters you’ve worked with in the past to help spread the word that you're looking.

When it comes to social media, be careful about updating your Linkedin profile. It’s a clue to people that you are getting ready to search for a new job. To avoid tipping your hand, click the little button on LinkedIn’s profile editing page that says “Notify your network?” and move it to No. This will prevent any of your connections like your boss from noticing.

Here are some additional tips from other professionals who wrote in for this article.

Try to set your job interviews consistently for the same time of day if it’s planned for a day when you are scheduled to work your regular job (DO NOT use sick days; it’s better to arrive to your job late or to leave the office earlier than not come at all) and DO NOT arrive to your office dressed any differently than usual – especially if you work in an environment with a more casual dress code (change out of your more formal business attire before coming to the office). In terms of your work hours, you can explain that you have some appointments which seem to be unable to be scheduled at other times – and then of course, advise your employer that you plan to make up any lost hours.

Sharon D.D. Reid | Tate Ellington Associates

1. Don't tell your work friends. Someone leaving for a new job, or even the thought of someone leaving for a new job, is just too exciting for some people to keep to themselves. Someone may see it as an opportunity to pounce on your job, win favor with the boss by telling her, or they may simply make a comment in passing that leads to the news being delivered to the wrong person. Best to keep your job search news to family and friends outside of work.

2. Don't talk about it online. Don't mention your search on your social media platforms. You may not believe this, but your snooping boss and work friends are routinely checking you (and each other) out online. Wait until after the job offer to announce your news to the world.

3. If everyone wears jeans to work and you show up late wearing a suit and tie, you might as well hang a sign around your neck that says "Hey I was just out on a job interview!!". Don't wear your interview clothes to work. Stop at home, the gym, or your friend's house and change before going back to work.

4. Don't feel compelled to make up crazy excuses because you are nervous about your boss finding out you have an interview. Along the lines of your dress tipping everyone off, don't make up wild excuses why you need time off. Sometimes you need to take an entire day off for the interview, and if you really need to explain to the boss why you need the day off use easy to believe excuses. If people know you take care of your parents use them as your excuse, for example.

5. Don't print your resume out at work or leave it on your screen. I can't tell you how many times I have discovered someone's intent to leave because they printed out their resume on a work printer and forgot it was there. View, edit, save, and print your resume at home. Your employer's equipment is for their business after all, not yours.

6. Get your recommendations from past employers. It's customary for employers to ask if they can check your references. They want to verify what you are telling them is true. In this case, its perfectly fine to explain your concern about them calling your current employer. Offer to allow them to contact past employers, and offer recommendations from people who have given them to you in the past.

Mike Bowman,

The one rule I've followed while in that position is, not using any of your current coworkers/supervisors as references. You never know how a current employer is going to react to your job search. I've had both positive and negative experiences. On the one hand, while looking for music gigs to further my professional development, I've had supervisors and coworkers who have been very supportive, encouraging me to follow my dreams. The other side was not so pretty. I found myself kept out of the loop on certain projects and company briefs/memos after I asked to use a corporate officer as a reference. As a rule of thumb I usually keep the job search a secret.

Michael Lopez, @dangobeats.