Ever been surprised when a friend announces a new job and you didn’t even know they were looking? You can use networking when you’re quietly searching for a new position. However, be aware that the more people who know you’re looking for a new job, the more likely your current employer is to find out about it.
Here are a few tips for quiet, if not completely secret, job searching while you are employed:
- Build your network before you need it,
- Contact people you know individually,
- Let contacts know you are searching quietly,
- Take advantage of privacy settings on LinkedIn,
- Use all social media cautiously, and
- Avoid using company resources.
Don’t be paranoid that word of your quiet job search will get out. Instead, plan and think before you act.
Build your network before you need it.
We have all encountered at least one person that only contacts us when they need a favor. One way to avoid being that kind of person is to build your network when you’re not searching for a new job. Listen to author Harvey Mackey’s advice to “dig your well before you’re thirsty.” Having a robust network can also help you be more effective in your current position, by giving you access to people who can help you solve the problems you face in your daily work.
Contact people you know individually.
Communicate one-on-one about your job search instead of sending mass messages or social media updates. Let each contact know that you are conducting your job search quietly, and ask for their help in keeping your search confidential.
Microsoft Outlook offers a “do not forward” option in the “permissions” menu. Other software may have a similar feature. Consider using this option, if available, when emailing individuals if you do not want them to communicate your information to others. The tradeoff, of course, is that this could make it more difficult for your contacts to share your information with people in their companies or professional circles that can take action.
Take advantage of privacy settings on LinkedIn.
Job seekers frequently tell me they do not want to include LinkedIn or other social media in their strategy because they are doing a quiet job search and do not want people at their current company to find out. It’s a legitimate concern because no one can guaranty 100% privacy on social media. Nonetheless, there are good reasons to use LinkedIn as part of your strategy, as discussed in a previous post, so it is worth considering steps to minimize the chance that “the whole world” will find out you are job-hunting.
When you are updating your LinkedIn profile as part of your job search, update your profile and slowly add new contacts. Don’t add everything all at once. And be sure to turn on LinkedIn’s privacy setting about sharing notifications before you change your profile or add a bunch of new contacts.
Another relatively new LinkedIn feature to be careful about when you are employed is the #opentowork hashtag. LinkedIn will place a bright green #opentowork frame around your profile photo if you turn it on, so do not turn #opentowork on if you are doing a stealthy job search.
You do have the option of allowing only recruiters, rather than all LinkedIn members, to see that you are seeking employment. LinkedIn says internal recruiters that work at your company will not see that you are job searching. External recruiters that may represent your company will see that you are seeking work because LinkedIn software does not know who the external recruiter represents.
Use all social media cautiously.
Most of us learned when we were children that once two people know a secret, word will get around. Your social media posts may be seen only by “friends” or “connections” if you set privacy settings correctly, or “lock down” your profiles, but your updates could become public when a friend or connection with more open settings shares your post.
Avoid using company resources.
Those of us in sales, marketing, and business development roles often use LinkedIn and other social media to benefit our company. Many of us though, are not expected to be on social media for work, so we should not use phones, tablets, or computers belonging to our company for job search networking.
If your primary purpose of networking is for your job search, don’t network on company time or using company resources. And never use your company email to send emails to your networking contacts. Even if your current employer does not object, your prospective employers could take exception to your use of company resources. They will feel that if you use your current employer’s resources for a job search, you would use their resources when you work for them.
Unquestionably, as a job seeker that has a job, you have to consider the tradeoff between privacy and letting people know you would like to find another job. No one will refer you to a great job if they do not know you are looking for one!We can help you get your job search started while you are working. Schedule a call with us today to review your LinkedIn and other job search marketing strategies.