Home Blog HAPPO HAPPO Questions: How do I find a new job when I don’t want my employer to know?

HAPPO Questions: How do I find a new job when I don’t want my employer to know?


Starting a new series today: HAPPO Questions. In my work with HAPPO over the last few years, there have been several questions that have come up that it seems like I keep answering.


So, I thought I’d start outlining my answers to these common questions here on the blog so I have something to refer back to when I get the question.

Today, I thought we’d start with one of THE MOST common questions I get: How do I find a job when I already have a job and I don’t want my employer to know?

It’s something we’ve all faced–and I’m sure others have ideas and thoughts to share here, too (please, in the comments). But my advice in this area focuses on five key points:

Be discreet

Probably goes without saying, but don’t actively look for a job on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.  You never know which networks your employer is participating in–or, who your employer knows and which networks THEY are participating in.

Don’t disparage your current employer

Even though you may want to, don’t. There’s no upside. None. Even if it’s the most horrible experience in the world, you don’t have to tell others that. Just keep that to yourself. Instead, talk about how you’re “pursuing other opportunities” or how your current role “isn’t the best fit and I’m looking for something that suits me better.” Don’t go down the rabbit hole of talking badly about your employer.

Start the coffee circuit

Today’s jobs aren’t found on job boards or internet servers.They’re found through people (some things never change, huh?). So, get out and start talking to your people. Start with your inner circle–close friends and former colleagues would be a good start. Ask them for 2-3 people you should chat with and build out from there. Make sure you treat these coffees almost like interview situations. Prepare for them. Build out questions. And thank you friends/colleagues for their time.

Touch base with recruiters

I’m not saying recruiters are the end-all-be-all. Truth be told, I’ve rarely had good luck with recruiters. But, they can be a great resource when it comes to the job search because 1) they’re discreet, and 2) they can give you valuable feedback on your resume and skills. It’s that second bullet I’d focus on. Ask them to review your resume. Ask for frank feedback on what you have to offer and what they market is looking for. That’s what recruiters get paid to do, after all. Take advantage of that.

Beef up your LinkedIn profile–but don’t go crazy

One easy way to spot if folks are looking for a job? They’re all over LinkedIn. You can usually spot it a mile away. Don’t be that person. But, you do want to update your profile and tidy it up. Just don’t go crazy in connecting with 300 people in two weeks if you haven’t been active on LinkedIn for the last year.That’s a huge red flag for your employer (who you’re most likely connected to).

Those are my thoughts.What about you? I know others have had experience in this area, obviously. Please share below so we can all get smarter.

Note: Photo courtesy of The Guncle viaFlickR Creative Commons



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