Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Strategies for Stealth-like Job Searches

Before embarking on a ‘below the radar’ job search, it is important consider what you are trying to accomplish by searching for a new job. If you are just looking to get some space between yourself and your current boss, then perhaps the first place to check for employment opportunities would be the job board at the company where you already work. It is not unusual for companies that are looking to fill vacancies to give preference to internal candidates and make an effort to encourage these individual to apply for other positions within the company. N.B. When looking for other opportunities within your organization, it is critical that you tell your boss that you are thinking of applying for a job in another department before you actually do it. The advantages of searching for new opportunities on the company job board are as follows:
  • You will reduce the chances of being viewed as a ‘traitor’ by your current boss; it is more likely that the company will view you as wanting to remain loyal to the company albeit in a different capacity
  • The company is already aware of the value you bring to the company
  • You have built in set of co-workers that you can call upon to support your petition for a move
Once you have decided to look beyond the limits of your company’s job board and search elsewhere, there are steps you can take to keep your job search confidential. Here are some suggestions on how to job hunt effectively while you are currently employed:  

E-mail Address Do not use your work email address for job hunting. Use your personal account or set up a free web-based email account specifically for job searching.  

Office Equipment Never use your employer's computers or phone system. Many employers monitor Internet usage and review phone call logs. Keep your résumé, your e-mail correspondence, and everything else related to your job search on your home computer.  

Your Résumé Be careful where you post your résumé. If you do not want your current employer to accidentally find your résumé when searching for candidates, post on job sites where you can keep your employer and personal contact information confidential.  

Employment History Do not list the name of the company where you are currently employed. Replace the name of the company with the word “Confidential”, identify the industry within which you work and use a generic job title. This step will also prevent your future employer from accidentally calling your present employer for a reference before you have given your present employer proper notice.  

Telephone Tips Never use your work phone number for job hunting. Instead, put your cell phone number and/or home phone number on your résumé. Be sure to have voice mail or an answering machine in place so you get the messages in a timely fashion.  

Get Organized Set aside blocks of time that you can devote to your employment search. In addition to focusing on your job hunt before and after work, at night and on weekends, you can use your lunch break to review your CV or write covering letters.  

How and When Utilize your laptop and find wireless connections to use. You can find wireless internet connections at bookstores, cafes or a library with internet access. Use your regularly scheduled breaks to return prospective employer phone calls.  

Laptop vs. Flash Drive Unless you are 100% sure that no one can access your laptop when you leave it unattended, do not store any confidential information related to your job search on your laptop. Opt to store all correspondence related to your job search on a memory stick and keep your memory stick with you at all times.

Interviewing Try to schedule interviews for either the beginning or the end of the day or on your lunch hour. If you have vacation time you can use, schedule multiple interviews for the same day.
 
Dress the Part Interviews require that you dress appropriately. If someone asks you why you are dressed in a business suit if the dress code at work is casual, tell them you have a function to go to directly after work.  

Be Discreet Be careful whom you tell that you are looking for a new job. If you tell co-workers, you can be sure that it will get back to your boss one way or the other. Do tell your family, so they can take messages for you and to help insure that they do not inadvertently spill the beans to your work colleagues and leave you a message that someone is calling about an interview.  

Line Up Your References Expect that your current employer is likely to give a ‘tombstone’ reference when called. A ‘tombstone’ reference is once where the HR Department will verify the start/end dates of your tenure with the company and your job title. As you may have to ask former colleagues or clients (if you owned a business) if they would be willing to give you a reference make sure that you have their contact information ready. N.B. NEVER supply a reference list until you are being offered a job.  

Double-check Your Outgoing E-mail Take the necessary time to make sure that the correct e-mail is going to the correct person.  

Keep Your Nose to the Grindstone While at Work Maintain the course at your current job and commit to keep putting in the necessary time and effort for your current employer. Remember, you are the one looking for other work so, it is up to you to figure out how to balance your current work situation with your job search efforts.  

Avoid Attending Job Fairs Where Your Company is Represented Do your research. Career and job fairs are a great place to look for other employment opportunities. Before you attend the event, make sure to investigate which companies are going to be represented at the event. If your company has a booth at the fair, you may want to rethink attending. N.B. You can always send your résumé directly to the companies that have a booth set up at the job fair, even if you cannot physically attend the event. Companies that set up booths at job fairs are well aware that not all candidates will be able to attend the event.  

Attend Industry Networking Events Go to job search focused networking events to build up your network. Always ask to be added to their company’s mailing lists.  

Create/ Update Your Profile on Professional Networking Sites Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and Plaxo. Make sure your content there is up-to-date and consistent with what you want your career brand to look like. Take every opportunity to expand your circle of contacts.  

Set Up Job Search Alerts Take advantage of the job search alert function that is available on all major job boards as well as your niche job board web sites. Also set up your alert on both indeed.com and LinkUp.com.  

Develop a List of Target Companies Start following these companies on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter and post friendly comments when applicable.  

Consider Hiring a Career Coach Well-established career coaches can often save you time and money and give you piece of mind as they will do the job search for you. These professionals also can offer guidance on enhancing your résumé, improving your interview skills and increasing your chances of landing a new position.  

Be Attentive and Helpful When Recruiters Call Register with more than one recruitment agency. Consider entering into a partnership with a recruiter who can work discreetly on your behalf to distribute your résumé and uncover job opportunities. Give recruiters a reason to want to call you back  
Start a Blog Become a subject matter expert through speaking or blogging. You will attract opportunities.