Employers have never liked their employees to job hunt, even before the Internet. The response is often to fire those job seekers. So, no job, and, probably, no Unemployment Compensation. Cut loose without a net! So be very careful!
Note! This does NOT mean that you should quit your job before you start a job hunt! That would be the VERY LAST THING I would recommend! If you have a job, do your best to keep it. Being unemployed while you job hunt may ease some of the logistical problems, but it is not something to do voluntarily.
One major worry employers have is that the departing job seeker is no longer a loyal employee – and that employee may take valuable information (e.g. customer lists, knowledge of products/services/pricing, etc.), colleagues, or other important “stuff” with them when they leave.
Another major worry is that these employees are no longer working very hard at their jobs. They are focusing at least some of their time and energy on finding another job rather than doing a good job at the job they have.
So, keep your job search a secret. Yes, it feels sneaky because it is. Get over it because you don’t really have an option, unless you are a “transitioning” military service member.
4 Tips for a Confidential Job Search
1. Don’t tell anyone at work, even your best buddies, that you are job hunting.
2. DO NOT USE ANY of your employer’s assets for your job search -
- Employer’s computer(s)
- Employer’s email system
- Employer’s computer networks, including wireless
- Employer-provided cell phone
- Office/work phone
- Office/work voicemail
- Office copier
- Office printer
- Office fax machine
- Office scanner
Most employers keep track of the use of their assets, so even using your own laptop to job hunt in the office may “out” your job hunt if you connect to the outside world via your employer’s wired or wireless network. Network connections are monitored!
So, don’t store your resume on your employer’s computer, even if you use it at home. You can store it in Google Docs to have access to it anywhere you have access to the Internet – but be careful not to access the Internet via your employer’s computer network.
You would be surprised how many people blow their cover by leaving the original of their resume on the copier or don’t get their resume from the office printer before someone else does.
3. Check for company/employer policies like an “Internet acceptable use” or “social media use.”
If you can find relevant polices, read them thoroughly, and do not violate them. Do not assume that lack of policies is approval to use the Internet and social media any way you want.
Use the Internet and social media at home on your own computer, connected to the Internet via your own network access (cable, phone, or other personal Internet access).
4. Use LinkedIn very carefully.
Join relevant LinkedIn Groups, including the ones for job seekers like Job-Hunt’s Job-Hunt Help Group, but do not participate in those groups publicly and do not display those Group logos in your LinkedIn Profile. You can view the jobs posted and respond to a job posting or a Discussion via a private email rather than a public comment.
It’s not easy to avoid using your employer’s assets for your job search, but to maintain the necessary confidentiality of your job search, you must do your best. One slip up can cost you your job.
For More Information
See Job-Hunt’s series of articles on how and why to protect your privacy. These articles will help you protect your job, too.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce, USMC veteran, has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @JobHuntOrg.