5 Tips for Keeping Your Job Search Secret from Your Boss

Jolene Pilgrim
27 Aug 2017

5 Tips for Keeping Your Job Search Secret from Your BossSure, you may have an existing career, job or temporary position.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re happy in your current workplace or aren’t looking for the next big gig to come along.  Flexibility and the ability to make career moves between companies or positions is often one of the easiest ways to get that title change, pay bump or other leap along your long term career path.

While searching for a new job while you’re currently employed makes sense from a candidate’s perspective, chances are your existing boss isn’t going to be exactly happy knowing their employee is considering a switch.  While you always want to give your current position plenty of notice (more on that later) it’s entirely possible to search, apply and interview a new position without your current employer finding out, keeping you in the captain’s chair when it comes to your career moves.  Here we break down how five tips that will help keep your job search a secret from your current boss.

Don’t be a Blabbermouth on Social Media

No matter how locked down you may have your profile, page, timeline or feed, sharing the fact that you’re searching for a new job with the general public always has the potential to make its way back to your current employer.  Once shared online, information sticks around forever, just ask whichever politician or celebrity has gotten in deep water for their most recent historical flubs or faux pas.  

If you must use social media to network in your job search efforts, be sure to switch your settings to private across professional and personal websites.  Be sure to note that prospective employers should not contact your current place of employment until after you’ve accepted any position and, for goodness sake, don’t tell your co-workers, secretary or mail delivery person that you’re actively looking for another gig.

Don’t Search on Company Time

While you may think that quick LinkedIn check in or shooting off a resume to a recruiter while sitting in the office is harmless, searching for a new job while on the clock at your old is unethical and has the potential to see you out in the cold.  Employers frequently monitor email and web use in today’s day and age and your job board perusal may not be as private as you think.  Using company resources (yes, your time counts as one) to look for a new job could be considered theft.  While your current employer is unlikely to prosecute, it looks unprofessional and should generally be avoided.

Keep the Sick Days to a Minimum

You may be tempted to use up those sick days to hunt for jobs, take interviews or simply veg out on the couch in expectation of bigger and better things while you’re searching for that new position.  Not only will your current employer frown on your inability to make it into the office if you but word could potentially get around to your new job as well making you seem unreliable before you’ve even set foot in the door.  Keep your time out of the office to a minimum to avoid both these unattractive scenarios.  As a bonus, many employers pay out remaining vacation or sick days once you leave meaning the less time you use up the bigger your bonus check will be for celebrating the new career.

Dress for the Job You (Still) Have

Few things can tip an existing employer off that you’re searching for greener pastures than the sudden addition of a sports jacket and slacks to your daily wardrobe of business casual.  Keep the wardrobe changes to a minimum at the office to avoid spilling the beans prematurely.  If you’re interviewing during lunch or after work, consider keeping your interview clothes in the closet or stashed in a garment bag in your car.  This will allow you flexibility with the added benefit of you not having to sit in a monkey suit all day long at your current job.

No Fibbing!

When you inevitably do have to take that day or half day off from the current position to attend an interview or meet with a recruiter, avoid making up complicated backstories or lying in general.  For starters, keeping track of every imaginary dead uncle, sick grandma or friend with a broken flat can get a bit taxing after an interview or two.  The best way to keep your story straight is to avoid making one up in the first place.  If you do need to take time off, let your employer or HR representative know you need to attend to a personal issue.  Play it nonchalant and no one will even think twice as you run out the door on your way to your next big career move.

The Bottom Line: Leave on Good Terms

We’ve all heard those anecdotes about burning bridges and this sage wisdom is certainly applicable when it comes to hunting for your new gig while on the way out of your old.  Keeping on top of your current responsibilities is the ethical thing to do and ensures you a good future reference as well as a potential soft landing spot in case your new job isn’t quite as rosy as you imagined.  Give your employer the two weeks, or as needed notice and keep working up until your very last day to maintain a portfolio of opportunities today and in the future.

Article Updated from the Original on August 27, 2017

Jolene Pilgrim