Protecting Your Privacy During a Job Search

special_counsel_privacy_job_searchIt’s a job-hunter’s nightmare: Despite intentions to maintain discretion and privacy, his-or-her job search becomes public knowledge. After losing control of confidentiality, it can be just a matter of time before your efforts to “jump ship” get back to your current employer. Needless to say, these unpleasant disclosures can dramatically change the climate of your office relationships — and limit any future opportunities that might have been in your own backyard.

So why not take a few simple steps to help protect your job-search privacy — from the very start?

Button Down Your Technology

Thinking of using your company’s communications technology for your personal business? Think again. Sure, the chances of someone seeing those recruiter emails in your email inbox may seem small — but it certainly happens.

Social media — especially LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter — provide terrific ways to maintain pubic visibility and demonstrate “thought leadership” on industry affairs. But is it wise to suddenly add a dozen recruiters to your LinkedIn network — or to have your Twitter account show that you’re following them all? Remember: Each of these signals contributes to a “mosaic” that can set the rumor mill in motion.

Use Good Recruiters & Clear Directives

When you’re reaching out to the community of recruiters, it goes without saying that you want to work only with the most reputable players. Once you’re working with recruiters, make it explicitly clear that they are to contact only prospective employers that you have approved. (And don’t assume that a casual conversation is enough; send a written note, and make a point of following up on it.)

Tell Your Network? Err On The Side Of Caution.

Since your network is such an important resource for uncovering hidden opportunities, you’d like to let some of them know that you’re looking. It’s a judgment call you’ll need to make on an individual-by-individual basis. But always err on the side of caution. As with any risk, you’re considering the prospect for gain — and weighing that against the added likelihood that your search will become visible someplace you didn’t want it to be.

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