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Keeping A Job Search Private

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This career article by Nathan Newberger gives you some great advice on conducting a confidential job search.

When economic conditions improve, it means companies will be looking for more workers, which means you might be looking for a better job. However, you can't just forget about the job you have or let your employer know you are planning on leaving. Finding a better job while staying financially stable requires you to conduct your job hunt in secret.

This article covers four important items to consider when conducting a confidential job search. These include:

  • Online Cloaking
  • Basic Common Sense
  • Networking Hazards
  • Honesty Works


Online job banks and resume sending services have made it incredibly easy to deliver your resume out to hundreds of companies with just the click of a button. That click could potentially send your resume to your own boss. A poorly run internet job search can have severe repercussions in your current job. When using these types of services, extra precautions must be used.

For your own benefit, consider these especially important safeguards:

  • If possible, find out which internet career services your current employer's human resources department uses. You can keep your search a secret by avoiding the chance of having your resume end up on your boss's desk.
  • Be skeptical of internet services that ask for too much information. In reality, they need little more than a name, an email address and a user name. If an internet job search site demands you reveal more information, there is a good chance that site will automatically send your information to other parties without your permission.
  • Always Read An Internet Site's User Policy.


Choosing to conduct your job search at work is a very dangerous game. Not only do you run the risk of being caught, you are also neglecting your actual work. An employer does not want to pay you to slack off. To keep your job search a secret and to keep your current job, you must keep the job search out of the office.

It is especially important to take the following precautions:

  • Do not give out any work contact information. If you must be in contact with recruiters or possible employers at any time of day, use a cellular phone. That way you can step out of the office to take the call.
  • This also includes email addresses. Employers could be monitoring your emails for security purposes. Set up a professional looking email address specifically for use in your job search. This will also keep you organized.
  • Do not schedule interviews during office hours. Coming in late to work can cause suspicion. If necessary, use vacation time for interviews.
  • Avoid using a reference from your current job. Unless you can absolutely trust this person, you run the risk of being exposed. Moreover, if they are contacted during work hours, news of your job search can spread around your office unintentionally.


One of the most powerful tools in a job search is word of mouth. Knowing the right people is an invaluable resource, and networking is the only way to meet the right people. Whether you network at a job fair, convention, or happy hour, getting your name out on the market is important. At the same time, it is very hard to broadcast your information while trying to keep your job search a secret, especially when interacting with people in the same industry.

Consider these tips when networking for a job:

  • Don't use business cards that have your current company's logo and information. Consider printing personal business cards for use in your confidential job search.
  • Find out where your contacts work before talking about your job search. It's a small world, especially when looking for work in a particular field. You never know when someone could be a partner or client of your current boss.
  • Also find out if your contacts are looking for work. Your cover could be blown if your contact ends up becoming your boss or coworker.
  • Closely analyze a contact's personality. When the job market is tight, people become a little more willing to backstab their way into new positions. A person who knows your secret may expose you in an attempt to steal your job. BE CAREFUL.


Recruiters and interviewers have been in the game for a while, and they have seen their fair share of confidential job searches. Telling a recruiter or interviewer that you are trying to keep your search a secret is not the end of the world; in fact, it is far from it. Not only will they understand, recruiters often assume that searches are confidential. So do not be afraid to tell the truth.

It is very important that you take these particular steps:

  • Stress that your search is a confidential. Do not just hope that a recruiter assumes so. There is no need to be shy or worry about being overbearing when it comes to this subject.
  • Demand a written job offer before giving a recruiter permission to contact your current employer. It is completely reasonable to want to protect your own security. You should question any employer that refuses to give you an offer before talking to your current employer, because they are knowingly putting your career at stake.


The job search is always a risky game. It is nice to feel secure financially as you spend time searching for that dream job. It relieves a lot of the stress associated with a search; but to keep that stress level low, you must make sure that your job search stays a secret. Hopefully, the tips contained in this article give you some helpful guidelines on the intricacies of the confidential job search. Good luck!

About The Author

Nathan Newberger is the job and career expert at Nathan has over 10 years of experience in staffing and human resources. He has worked both as a recruiter and career counselor. Mr. Newberger has been the Managing Editor at for the past 5 years and his articles have helped thousands of job seekers.

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