Confidential Executive Job Search Done Right

There is still some debate about how “public” your executive job search should be.

jobsearch2After all, there are plenty of good reasons for making your brand and presence stand out online.

However, after reading the WSJ article about how an employee believes he was fired because he took his job search public on LinkedIn, it can make you wonder.

So, how do you conduct an effective job search while you are employed?

It goes without saying that unless you are unemployed, your company is going out of business or you have been served a layoff notice, your executive job search should be kept confidential at all times.

In the end, your boss and colleagues may be supportive of your new job once you have submitted an official resignation, however in the interim, if your job search is exposed – well, that’s never good.

So how do you maximize your visibility to employers, hiring managers and recruiters without spilling the beans? Well, I wrote a blog on the same topic last year and it still applies today, so I decided to recycle it.

Here’s good food for thought as you consider your 2012 job search.

1) Online Applications Are Not The Answer

Take your left hand and slap your right hand – go ahead, do it now. That is your reminder to to avoid sending your resume every time an online job opportunity looks good as it quickly advertises your career data…save your online activities for researching companies, identifying key contacts, and locating relevant professional networking events.

2) Use Social Media Tools Cautiously

It okay to be open, but don’t make Facebook and Twitter your online diary to the world. A hard day at work, an unbearable boss, a difficult client, a tiresome co-worker, disobedient children…you name it, can be sources of frustration for anyone, but avoid making them your regular social media status updates. What you need to remember is that the Internet creates digital footprints and it stays out there for a LONG time.

3) Don’t Broadcast Your LinkedIn Updates

You are finally ready and going full steam ahead with your job search. You recognize that your LI profile needs improvement and you start making dramatic changes. Great move for your online brand, bad move for confidential job searches.

See, there is a feature on LI (which can be turned off) that announces all your updates and changes to your connections – these activities can send signals to people that you are in or preparing for a job search. Make sure to adjust your settings before revising content.

4) Screen Executive Recruiters Before Working With Them

Now before you get the wrong idea, understand that I highly respect executive recruiters and refer my clients to them all the time – HOWEVER, I have heard some horror stories from jobseekers – imagine your resume being accidentally sent to your own boss from a recruiter! Not regular incidences, but it can happen.

When you get legitimate emails and calls from recruiters who are seeking candidates with your background and expertise, do your due diligence. Find out the recruiters’ specialty areas, top clients, industry expertise, geographical markets and even ask for references.

 5) Increase Your Executive Resume “Privacy”

There are subtle ways to omit listing your current employer on your executive resume, but still have an effective career marketing document that works in your favor. For example:

a) Create an email address specifically for job search, so your personal email address used for personal social media profiles are different.

b) Contact information: Simply list your name, (or first initial and last name, first initial, middle name and last name) email address and your cell phone number or explore getting a Google voice number that syncs with your cell phone (it works, I use it all the time)

c) State your situation by adding “Confidential Search” to the top of your executive resume

4) Camouflage not conceal, your degree or place of employment if you don’t want to risk your colleagues making an immediate connection to you. For example, SVP, Business Development, Confidential Company, USA or BA / MBA, Ivy League University

Note: I am not suggesting that you play down your degree or where you work, but when have a strong, updated online brand, it is not hard for people to link your name, degrees, email address, phone number or even one company name to determine it’s you.

Maximize your job search efforts effectively and aggressively, but just be smart about where and who you are sharing information with…you never know who may see it.