It goes without saying that unless you are unemployed, your company is going out of business or you have been served a layoff notice, your executive job search should be kept confidential at all times.
In the end, your boss and colleagues may be supportive of your new job once you have submitted an official resignation, however in the interim, if your job search is exposed - well, that's never good.
With so much job search and recruiting activities being doing online - how do you stay visible to employers, recruiters and hiring managers without blowing your current job situation? Not easy, but it can be done.
Avoid The Online Resume Blasts
Take your left hand and slap your right hand - go ahead, do it now - to avoid sending your resume everytime an online job opportunity that looks good. Save your online activities to company research, identifying key contacts, and locating relevant professional networking events.
Don't Broadcast Your Intentions Through Social Media
I swear that Facebook and Twitter have become the online diary for too many people. A hard day at work, an unbearable boss, a difficult client, a tiresome co-worker, disobedient children..you name it, are all popular topics that get referenced on social media status updates.
What you should know is that once you put something on the Internet, it's out there for a LONG time. (There are some strategies to correct that, but I'll save that for another blog post)
Now, you may not be guilty of outrageous status updates, but sharing private information or even mentioning that you are looking for a new job can show up in Google searches despite the "security" settings in these social media tools and keep in mind that Tweets are real-time data...if it's out there, it's easy to go viral.
Adjust Your LinkedIn Settings When Making Changes
Okay, picture this. You are finally ready and going full steam ahead with your job search. You recognize that your LI profile needs improvement and you start making dramatic changes. Great move for your online brand, but not a great strategy if you want to keep your job search confidential.
See, there is a feature on LI (which can be turned off) that announces all your updates and changes to your connections - these activities also signal to people that you are in or preparing for a job search.
If you are like me, you might have forgotten who you are connected to on LI - most likely all your colleagues or even your boss...hmmm...think about it.
Screen Executive Recruiters Carefully Before Trusting Them With Your Search
Now before you get the wrong idea, understand that I highly respect executive recruiters and refer my clients to them all the time - HOWEVER, I have heard some horror stories from jobseekers - imagine your resume being accidentally sent to your boss from a recruiter! Trust me, it happens.
You will get legitimate emails and calls from recruiters who are seeking candidates with your background - take the extra time to do your due diligence. Find out the recruiters' specialty areas, top clients, industry expertise, geographical markets and even ask for references.
1) Create an email address specifically for job search - so your personal email address used for FB, Twitter or even LI should be different.
2) Contact information: Simply list your name, (or first initial and last name, first initial, middle name and last name) email address and your cell phone number or explore getting a Google voice number that syncs with your cell phone (it works, I use it all the time)
3) Say so - at the top of resume, indicate "Confidential Search"
4) Try these techniques to address high-profile companies or top degrees
Before: SVP, Business Development, North America - Microsoft Company, Seattle, WA
After: SVP, Business Development, Confidential Company, USA or
SVP, Business Development, Global Technology Leader, USA
Before: BA / MBA, Harvard University
After: BA / MBA, Ivy League University
Note: I am not suggesting that you play down your degree or where you work, but when have a strong, updated online brand, it is not hard for people to link your name, degrees, email address, phone number or even one company name to determine it's you.
Have you ever had your job search ousted before you found a new job? How did you handle it?
whose job search was busted because the recruiter he/she was working with ended