You’re looking for a new job. Your boss doesn’t know it, and you don’t want him to. So, how do you act? What do you do, what don’t you do, to keep your secret while making sure to maximize your likelihood of success?

Here are a few pointers, based on my ten years experience working with candidates while they are currently working themselves.

  • Get an outside email address, and don’t use your work email address or Internet connection for job search related activities unless absolutely necessary. Someone in your company’s IT department is often reading your emails, and reporting any questionable ones to your boss. Unfortunately, they have the right to do so with your work email address. In fact, your company policy may stipulate that ALL e-mail / internet traffic is subject to the company's prying eyes. This is OFTEN the case, so even the use of other Web based e-mail accounts, such as Yahoo or Hotmail, may not be safe to use from work.
  • Use your cell phone when possible, even if just to receive the incoming call, and call the recruiter right back. Lots of calls from a friendly stranger going through your assistants desk raises a big flag, especially when you won’t tell him/her who that new caller is. So, have the recruiter call you on the cell phone, and return his call from a better line if the connection is poor. And even then, be careful. Sometimes employers listen in on phone calls too, and in most places that is not illegal either.
  • Be very careful about certain words, and use substitutes. For instance, never say ‘resume.’ Instead, refer to ‘the file we discussed.’ Instead of ‘interview’ refer to ‘meeting.’ And don’t let your recruiter use those words either, not even in your private emails. Someone walking by and seeing ‘resume’ on your monitor can quickly turn you in, even by accident.
  • Don’t forget that you are at work when talking to your recruiter or others about sending out “that file.” It is very easy to get involved in the conversation, and forget that your coworker is 3 feet away and can hear you discuss your “resume”.

Be careful when doing your job search. The worst thing you can do in a job search is to lose your current job in the effort of finding the new job. An unemployed candidate is harder to place, and also worth less (i.e. you will get a lower financial offer if you are out of work), than a gainfully employed candidate. I’m not sure why, but that is the way it is. So, don’t lose your job until you are ready to lose it.

This Article Prepared by Thom Brown, Recruiting Manager, Management Solutions Group