Secret “new job” search

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008 - career change, career management, career transition, Employment, Job Application, job search

Secret New Job Search


One of the advantages for the casual job seeker of the internet is to be contactable, but also to appear to your current employer that you are happy where you are. The number of business orientated social networking sites – including LinkedIn and VisualCV – means that you can say to your existing employer that you are “just” networking, while you know that your details are out there being found by recruiters and HR people.

However, suppose you need to escalate that job search to reach a quicker conclusion, to get you out of your existing hole: what tactics can you use?

Secret Job Search

The first problem and key tactic is that, much like having an illicit affair, you have to be discrete and appear to carry on in the same old routine or path. Appearing to look like a job seeker sends out all the wrong messages to both your existing employer (untrustworthy), and any potential employer (desperate), and is likely to end in an extended period of unemployment.

Hence, the first and only rule is to leave no evidence of your job searching in your work place.While searching for work, do not use your employers infrastructure, including computers or phones. A majority of employers monitor systems usage through a clause in your contract called “bringing the company into disrepute,” they can hence keep details of websites visited by computers and calls made from phones. I have heard of people being sacked after expense accounts included the receipt for purchase of heavy weight paper, or cardboard-backed envelopes which showed up on the accompanying paperwork as “12 x CV no-bend envelopes!” All expenditure goes to your personal account, and choose to take a preference for paying cash for items and services, including stationary. And don’t go using the company photocopier – a personal printer which includes a copy function can be bought for under £100

New Job Search

Your first task in any job search ito separate your existing personal and current job contact details from your new job search self. You must keep your CV, eMail correspondence, and anything and everything related to your job search on your home computer. This may mean obtaining:

  • A new free web-based eMail account specifically for job searching. For instance, if you have AOL and Hotmail accounts, get a gMail account
  • A new PAYG cellphone. You could use your home phone answering machine, but it is often difficult to access and always comes with the “I have to tell the other people who I live with” secrecy compromises of your job search. As it is initially for incoming calls, no need for more than the standard starter credit which can cost you from £25 upwards. Please make sure that you record a voice mail message, that clearly states your availability and eMail address
  • I would also recommend optionally a PO Box for mail. At around £15/month, a relative bargain

Security of these details is sacrosanct – any leak and unemployment is almost inevitable, so don’t leak them to anyone outside those who need to know. For instance, if you have a Plaxo account, or similar MSOutlook back-up service, don’t put these in your own Plaxo details. They will replicate to all of your contacts, which probably includes your boss!

Only once in the job search do you get the excuse in this entire exercise to create a new person identity, so call it something different to your normal choice, which could be for instance: a holiday destination; a name from your year of birth in the phone book; or a name from the newspaper. At NO point will you be using this “identity name,” it is just a point to store your new job search contact details.

Secondly, create a new Professional CV. Make sure it reflects your new career goals and requirements – and include your new job search contact details. But you must be very careful where you post, so only post on job sites where you can keep your employer history and contact information confidential. Monster for instance provides such a facility, which means you can still be found by recruiters and HR people, but your details are confidential and they can only post to you – it is then your choice whether you respond. Store the final document at an easy-access secure document location, such as Google Docs, which allows you quickly to send it out to any CV requests – but clearly don’t publish it in public!

Thirdly, you can now polish up your existing online social networking profiles. Make sure these are aligned with your new skills and new CV. On LinkedIn, you can tick a box from an options list which states whether or not you wish to be contacted, while an other option asks if you are interested in new job or contracting opportunities. Most professionals do tick these boxes, and they are just options – but it is not as blatant as posting your CV across an open jobs site.

Job Search tactics

During your search, you may find it difficult to make contact with potential employers during work hours – and hence although you may get some contact, following this up will prove difficult. Everyone should take a lunch hour, so use yours to find:

  • A place or location where you can go which is away from the work place, and quiet enough in which to conduct a 15min conversation. Your car could be a good option, but make sure the location you park has great cellphone coverage
  • A public library or alternately an internet café which gives access to computer terminals. Libraries are good as they provide “cover story” opportunities as to why you are going to the library. Alternately, find a public access Wifi location, such as Starbucks

You now have locations in which to take lunch, and follow up on job search eMails and detail requests.

When you get to the interview stage, try scheduling them at points of the day when it is easier and causes less suspicion. This could either be in the morning or late afternoon, and away from normal office “busy” periods such as monthly or quarterly target or finance period closes. On the day of the interview, if you don’t wear a suit in to work normally, then don’t on the interview day – use a suitcase, or leave your clothes in the car and allow time to change on the way. Men, at the start of your job search, start shaving in a presentable to interview fashion every day – if you want to keep your beard, then trim it. If you suddenly turn up on one day well shaven, then you either have a hot date or are going for an interview!

During your job search, keep a diary and plan of progress – monitoring will tell you what channels are working, to put more effort into them.

Most importantly, always be discrete and try to keep the number of people you tell below four. Only tell those you can trust, which I suggest is family only and no co-workers – it will some how inevitably always get back to your boss!

Job searching can be fun, but you always need to take some sensible cautions just to make sure your existing job is not lost before you have a signed contract for the new job: until that point, it is never secured and assured.

Good Luck!


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One Response to “Secret “new job” search”

  1. Rita Says:

    One caution that is not intuitive…Never update your connections on linkedIn or other social networking site with names acquired on your day off interviewing. Space them out with entries from other companies.
    Rita Ashley
    The Job Coach

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