Stealthy Search: How to keep your boss from finding out you’re looking for a new job

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Business woman smiling behind computer

It’s a clear giveaway that you’re on the hunt for a new job. You create significant and repeated updates to your LinkedIn profile, adding a new professional photo as well as providing more details around your skills and experience.

Yet, because you didn’t adjust your privacy settings to turn off activity broadcasts, every update gets blasted out to your network — including your boss and colleagues.

If you’re at the take-this-job-and-shove-it stage this might not be a big deal, but typically the less your boss knows about your future career intentions the better. If he or she knows you are a short-timer, you will get treated as one. Worse, if your company finds out you are looking for a job during working hours or using company resources, you may find yourself out of a job before you find a new one.

Here are 5 tips for keeping your search on the sly.

Be smart on social media

LinkedIn is the biggest giveaway, but you also need to be discreet on other social media as well. Show restraint on your posts in terms of comments on your current job or mentioning any job interviews or your new search. Always assume that any of your social media activity can be seen by your boss, or someone associated with your boss. Also change the preferred e-mail address for all of your social media outlets to your personal address rather than a work e-mail to ensure privacy and make sure you have access if and when you get a new job.
Interested? Read more on using social media for job searching

Search away from the office

When you are at work, your Web search history, e-mail, and phone usage is all fair game for your current employer. Many managers and companies have the capabilities to track your Web searches, and see who you are e-mailing and calling while on the clock. If you have to conduct some aspects of your search in the working day, do it off-site from a personal cell phone.

Avoid confiding in co-workers

The temptation is there to share details of your search with your friends at work. Think twice. Only tell a co-worker on a need-to-know basis if he or she might be able to help as a reference or in the search. Just know that any time you tell anyone, you increase the risk that news of your search will get out. A trusted confidant might never dream of sharing your intentions with a your boss, but if he or she happens to mention it with another colleague, word can spread like wildfire – and get back to your boss in no time.

Be savvy about references

Get your confidential references lined up early and, if possible, focus on individuals outside of your current employer. If you are using an in-house reference, emphasize that your confidentiality be maintained.

Schedule interviews during off-hours

If you wear your best suit to work and then take an hour-and-a-half lunch, you are sure to start the buzz in the office. If possible, schedule interviews when you are off, or before or after your regular working hours.

No doubt, the time will come when your boss is aware that you have been looking for a new job. Do your best to make sure it is only when you are offering up your two-weeks notice.
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