If you’re looking for a new job while you’re employed, the last thing your current employer needs to know is that you’re looking elsewhere. This could create tension at work and put you in an awkward position.
In this case, the secret of success will be just that, a secret.
You must ensure that you conduct your job search discreetly and keep this information to yourself.
But if you’re not happy in your current position, it can be difficult. It can be tempting to spend a lot of time looking for a job, increasing the risk of getting caught.
So if you want to go job hunting without notifying your boss, here’s how to do it.
Don’t bring your job search to the office
It can be difficult not to look at job descriptions or explore opportunities on LinkedIn all day, especially when new job openings are usually posted. However, this is a surefire way to ring alarm bells.
Wherever you can, it is best to save your job search for at home. This is likely to be the case in the evenings and on weekends.
However, if you go job hunting during working hours, try to save it for lunch and ideally use a different device or an incognito browser. This means avoiding your work computer and using your smartphone or tablet instead.
This can be even more difficult when you need to reply to emails or take time-sensitive calls. In this case, it may be best to work from home or take a personal day. So you can continue the search without prying eyes.
Keep it to yourself
You may have known your colleague for 10 years, but it’s still best not to involve anyone else in your job search. No matter how much you think you can trust someone, just one wrong word from them could land you in hot water, even if they didn’t say the wrong thing on purpose.
It is therefore best to keep the initial job search to yourself and only inform your colleagues and friends once you have agreed on a new job and informed your current employer.
Plan the interview carefully
It’s possible that you’ll have multiple interviews before securing your next job, and you need to be careful how you do it.
If an interview is coming up, it is best to book a day off or try to arrange this for later in the day. Most employers will understand that you need to frame the interview around your current job, so they are willing to be flexible.
Working from home can make attending interviews a lot easier, as long as you’re not on the phone or video conferencing at the time.
If you’re going to an interview during the day or right after work, try changing and getting ready outside of the office. If you suddenly emerge from the toilet stall in a new outfit, this is a red flag. So if you need to prepare, do it outside of the office.
Ask for discretion in your cover letter
Your cover letter can be the ideal way to inform a potential new employer about your current position and your notice period. This shows them that you are still working and need some discretion.
However, if you’re concerned that someone might try to contact someone in your current work for a reference, you can even go one step further and ask the reader to resist being contacted. This way you avoid unpleasant calls to the HR department.
Pay attention to your contact details
You’d be surprised how many job seekers get caught using the wrong email address or phone number. When looking for a job, avoid using your work email address or an email address that you use every day at the office. This can increase the risk of someone finding out.
Also, you don’t want to risk recruiters or potential employers contacting you this way, even though your work phone is the number one way to reach you during the day. Instead, make sure you use your personal phone number when setting up job alerts, and the same goes for your email.
You can even set up a new dedicated email address just for job hunting if that makes administration easier.
Although looking for a new job can be an exciting time in your career, you must do your best to hide it from your colleagues and especially your boss.
Follow our tips above for a discreet but successful job hunt, and avoid awkward conversations or discoveries until you’re ready to officially hand in your resignation.