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Concealing Your Job Search

Conducting a job search while employed full-time can be a challenging endeavor. The privacy needed to communicate with potential employers, as well as the time off required to interview, can be a challenging feat (especially if you are sitting in a cube farm surrounded by people who have always been interested in your business). There are three major pitfalls that can blow your cover. These hazards relate to e-mail communications, posting your résumé on Internet job boards, and believe it or not, your work attire.

Companies have the ability to track an employee’s web surfing, and incoming as well as outgoing e-mails. (This despite your diligence in dumping the history of your website visits and deleting your personal e-mails.) Your boss can simply ask the information-technology department, which probably has invested in the relatively inexpensive tracking software, to retrieve a record of your computer activities. Because of this, you should never use your employer’s computer to visit job boards, or send or accept e-mail messages related to a job search. You may think your privacy is being violated by such shadowing, however, in the US, there are no laws in place to discourage this surveillance.

If you decide to post your résumé on an Internet job board, keep your identity as secret as possible. Monster.com, for instance, allows you to hide your name and contact information. Many of these job board websites will send you an e-mail when someone shows interest in your résumé, therefore, you need not be concerned about eliminating your contact information. In addition to your contact information, you may want to conceal the name of your present employer. This would protect you if your company’s hiring managers visited the job boards you posted on-to either seek out new candidates or do some reconnaissance on their own staff! In place of your company’s name, create a generic description such as “prestigious public relations firm” or “mid-size accounting firm.”

As far as work attire is concerned, many a clandestine job search has been unraveled when an employee shows up for work outfitted to the nines. Be aware that your supervisor and/or colleagues will notice your upgraded clothing and decide you are indeed wearing an interview suit. Therefore, your strategy should be to either start dressing up almost daily or find a place to do a Superman-type clothing change to protect your secret.

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