Sunday, February 26, 2012

How to Conduct a Confidential Job Search

In this job market it is a blessing to have a job but many are not happy with their situation and want to make a change without putting their current job at risk.  In this article I present several tips to conduct a confidential job search for busy professionals. 
  1. Pick up the phone and get in touch with a few of your close industry contacts and put out a few feelers to see if there are any unadvertised opportunities.  I say close contacts because you want to limit the number of people who know about your search.  
  1. Change your Linkedin settings to prevent broadcasting profile updates to your entire network.  Go to and at the top right of the page hover over your name and click settings.  Then go down to the middle of the page and click Profile.  Under privacy controls click "Turn on/off your activity broadcast" and uncheck "Let people know when you change your profile".  Next click "Select who can see your activity feed" and change to "Only you".   
  1. Included an email or a phone number in your profile.  The best way to handle this is to include your phone number or email address under the Personal Information heading at the bottom of your LinkedIn profile.  To update this go to the top of the page hover over Profile, click edit and then scroll down to Personal Information and click Edit. 
    1. One additional tip, setup a Gmail account and a Google phone number to use for your job search.  For the email I would recommend using a combination of your first name and your title.  Also, make sure you forward your new email and phone number to an email account and phone that you regularly check.  
  1. Now with the basics out of the way one of the best ways to get noticed without spending too much time is to update your profile with relevant key words by following the advice in my "Think Before you Send" article.  The keywords should be listed in the summary section under specialties.   I recommend having between 15 and 20 keywords/phrases.  
  1. Get connected with recruiters on Linkedin; I recommend getting connected to recruiters in your industry.  The best way to do this is to conduct an Advanced search and under keywords type “Recruiter” and “Your Industry” and then select your country and if in the US your Postal Code.  To get to the Advanced search page go to the LinkedIn home page at the top right click Advanced and under keywords type your search.   
  1. Setup job alerts on all the major job boards including,, and  Be sure to include 2 to 3 of the most relevant keywords you found by using my Think Before you Send article as this will greatly reduce the amount of junk alerts you get.  
  1. Finally be smart about interviews and try to schedule them before or after regular business hours or during lunch.  If that is not feasible take a personal or vacation day.  
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The photo used is a Creative Commons photo created by Michael M Kenny with Atrribution-NonCommercial – ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license; the photo can be found on Flickr at


  1. I'm not on linkedin, maybe I'm just old school in the sense that I can only keep up with one social networking sight. However, I enjoyed reading your information. In particular, I think you hit the nail on the head when you stated to share your job search with your most valuable and *close* contacts.

    In the world we live in where so many people seem to be connected in one way or another, especially online through social networking sites, word gets around quickly. And, the confidentiality of your search can be jeopardized.

    John Pagan

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