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How to Engage in a Confidential Executive Job Search

You’re ready to make an executive career transition but you recognize that this could take a while. In the meantime, you want to avoid potential backlash and protect your current role. To minimize risks to your current position, you hope to keep your job search activities confidential.

So how do you search for a new role without alerting your current employer? Conducting an executive job search while you’re employed can be tricky but here are a few approaches you can take to maximize confidentiality.

Be discreet.

The use of social media can greatly accelerate your job search but if you’re not careful, you risk exposure. Pay special attention to your LinkedIn profile. Be sure that it is complete and that it powerfully reflects your accomplishments and career direction. Do not, however, announce your interest in finding a new job.

While making changes to your profile, adjust your privacy settings to ensure that your activity is not broadcast to your network. This is particularly important if you haven’t been a consistent LinkedIn user, as a sudden burst of activity could raise suspicions. Be discreet with other social media platforms as well.

Use discretion with your colleagues too. While you might be tempted to discuss your plans with co-workers, don’t assume that they will maintain your confidentiality. Until you are prepared to share your decision with your manager, you should avoid discussing it with anyone else internally.

Avoid the use of company resources.

When it comes to the use of mobile devices, email, and other technologies, the line between personal and professional activity is often blurred. It is critical, however, that you limit all job search activity to your personal resources. Messages sent through your company email address, searches you conduct through your company’s network, etc. can all be monitored by your company’s IT group, which can blow your cover.

Ideally, you should reserve all job search activity for non-business hours. At times, however, you may need to respond to an email or speak with a recruiter during your workday. Use your personal email account for all job search-related correspondence. When connecting by phone, be sure that you are speaking in a private setting, even if that means taking the call in your car.

Stay committed to your current role.

Your time is limited. And as your enthusiasm for making a change has grown, you’ve mentally begun to check out of your current position. You’d much prefer to focus your efforts on your transition. Although it’s difficult to balance the demands of your existing role and an executive job search, the easiest way to raise suspicions is to let your performance slide.

Until you officially exit your role, you have a responsibility to perform at your best. Stay engaged with your team, continue to add value, and be sure to meet all deadlines. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also important to your reputation. You never know when you might need a reference from a current leader or may work with current colleagues again in the future.

Conducting a confidential job search can be a challenge. With the right level of strategy and discretion, however, you can be successful. Follow these steps to maximize your executive career transition.

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