5 tips to keep your job search a secret

When you suddenly start sharing updates on LinkedIn, making radical changes to your LinkedIn profile or begin disappearing from the office, you send red flags to colleagues and your manager.

It's important for your job security to keep your job search a secret from your fellow employees and your manager. Here are some things you need to know about launching a confidential job search.

[See: 10 Ways You're Inadvertently Broadcasting Your Job Search.]

Don't make radical changes to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the top choices for recruiters and employers to search when looking for talent. Will your LinkedIn profile show up in search results? Before you make any fixes to your LinkedIn profile, change the notifications settings off. You will find the option to toggle this setting when you are in your profile's edit mode. Make sure your profile is complete and includes the right skills for the jobs you are interested in.

Begin spiffing up your profile by making changes to older jobs, adding samples of work, or by making changes that don't scream you are on the hunt for a new job. For example, changing your headline from your current job title to something self-promotional like, "Project Manager in search of my next great opportunity" is unwise. One headline change that won't tip off your employer is: "Technical Project Manager. Overseeing the software life cycle at X Company." By keeping the company name in the headline, you don't look like you are actively job hunting, yet you've still promoted some desirable skills.

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Do not use company resources. Don't use your work computer or phone for your job search, not even after hours or during breaks. You spend eight or more hours in the office, so it's tempting, but don't do it. And using your own phone or computer inside the office can be detrimental if someone sees what you are doing. The best practice is to only job search during your personal time out of the office.

[See: The 8 Stages of a Winning Job Search.]

Post your resume with caution. Of course, you want to add your resume to various resume databases, but use caution. You don't want your current employer to see your resume. Before you post your resume, remove your name and contact information from the resume. Instead, list your profession as your name and list only your city and state. Your email and phone number could easily allow a curious manager to find your information. Next, replace your most current company name with "confidential," "current employer" or describe the company industry, product or service, such as "Manufacturer of Molded Plastics." If your resume contains any other information that would tip off your current employer, such as specific product names or clients, clear this information from your resume.

Posting your resume to a board like Indeed, CareerBuilder or Monster is likely to generate a lot of spam. You may want to create a separate email account just for your job search.

And remember, only a small percentage of people secure a job based on having a resume online.

Tell people your job search is confidential. You do not need to confess to anyone you are job searching. In fact, it's best to network and not bring up your search. If asked, or if you decide you do want to share your current career info, make sure you tell the person you are still employed and would like to keep your job search confidential. People understand how important this is and will keep your secret.

[See: 10 Things Your Mom Didn't Teach You About Job Searching.]

Arrange networking meetings after or before work. Meeting with past colleagues is one of the best ways to share the news about your job search. Arrange to meet with people you know one-on-one, either via phone or in person before work or at the end of the day. When reaching out to invite your contact for a meeting, explain that you want to catch up or reconnect.

If you are actively networking and managing your online visibility and reputation, you will find it much easier to launch your confidential job search. In fact, the best career strategy is to consistently stay connected with your network, online and off, and offer help when people reach out to you.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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