How to Search for a Job Without Your Boss Knowing

Searching for a job can be time-consuming and difficult. Trying to search for a job without your boss knowing turns it into a tricky game. Whatever your reason for searching, most people experience the same problem–there’s just not enough time to conduct your search after work. And you’re probably thinking about it the entire time you’re at work, so you’re tempted to use your spare time to keep looking. It is possible to keep your search from your boss. You just have to follow some rules.

First, don’t use your work email address when applying. Not only could your current employer be one of many that monitor the usage of company email, you’ll be sending the message to your potential employer that you search for jobs on company time. In other words, you don’t work when you’re being paid to work. People have been fired to misuse of company email, and if your intention is to keep your current job until you find a new one, be sure to conduct all of your business with your personal email.

This one may be obvious, but if you want to use references from your current job, make sure they’re people that will keep the fact that you’re searching confidential. So if you don’t want your boss to know, don’t list him or her as a reference. Some potential employers might check references prior to interviews; don’t risk letting them blow your cover. And don’t worry too much about not listing your boss. While he or she might be able to give you the best reference, a fellow coworker that can vouch for your accomplishments and work ethic can be all you need.

Try not to schedule interviews in the middle of your day. It may be difficult to schedule them especially if you work odd hours, but no matter your situation, do your best to schedule interviews for early morning or late afternoon. That may make it easier for you to gloss over your real reason for arriving late or leaving early. Don’t insist that you’re sick, though, as that can be hard to prove (what if your employer asks for a doctor’s excuse?), and don’t wear your interview clothes to work if they don’t fit with your company’s normal dress code.

Finally, don’t lose momentum at your current job. You will still need coworkers, and perhaps eventually your current boss, to provide great references. If you suddenly start slacking, that won’t look good to your coworkers, and if they relay that to your potential employer, you might not get the job. It will appear that you have a low work ethic.

Don’t allow the paranoia of being found out take over at work. You’ll only risk giving yourself away. If you use your personal email, schedule interviews on as much of your personal time as possible, only use trusted coworkers as references, and keep doing your job, it will be easier to hide your search from your boss.

For more job search safety tips, see what recommends.

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