Application tips

How to search & apply for a job discretely

16 Nov 2019
So you are ready for a new job. Maybe you are looking for your first job or a job that will suit you better. What to do now?

In the first case, you can openly begin your search. In the second case, you may have an employer for whom you want to hide your search. In this article, we share tips on how to increase your chances for a job interview while keeping your job search discreet.

Optimal results with minimal visibility

Do you know the feeling? You have a job but you are secretly looking for a new one. Then it is not handy to openly communicate that you are looking for a new job.

An open approach may increase your chances of a new job, but your current employer may quickly realize you want to leave the company. This can lead to strange and unpleasant situations.

Tips for finding a new job while keeping your job search discreet

1. Build up your reputation and network before searching for a new job

When searching for a new job, people often start profiling themselves aggressively in an attempt to expand and leverage their network. There is nothing wrong with building a network, but when you start (over)doing it when you need a job, it is actually a bit too late. And it may seem awkward. Avoid stress and start building your reputation and your network while you still enjoy your current job. This will prove beneficial for you, your network and your future employer.

After all, by helping others and sharing your knowledge and experience you will build up credibility and gratitude. This way you will start noticing that the opportunities often find you instead of the other way around. And should you start looking for a new job in the future, the people in your network will be more than happy to help you out.

Having a complete online profile and an outstanding reputation also helps future recruiters and employers to find, screen and contact you for job interviews. The more complete your profile is, the more likely you will be invited for job interviews that truly fit you. Start building your online reputation now by proactively sharing your knowledge and expertise on the web.

In other blog posts, we give you practical tips on how to enhance your online profile and reputation. We will then discuss the use of social media for sharing your knowledge and expertise and for building up your online reputation.

Meeting workshop iso quality management2. Create a ‘career narrative’ for good friends

You can greatly increase your chances of success if you can clearly articulate your wishes, strengths and ambitions. If someone asks you “What can you do and what are you looking for?” then you should be able to answer in 2 or 3 sentences.

The answers to these questions are your verbal business card. It is also called a ’30-seconds pitch’ or a ‘career narrative’. It helps you to stay focused and it will help your friends to help you find your next job.

3. Keep your application low profile

At first, tell only a limited group of people that you are looking for a new job. Speak with your good friends and acquaintances, and try to make direct contact with companies you would like to work for. Ask for discretion because you still have a job with another employer.

You can also send your resume to one or a limited number of recruitment agencies who then try to find you a suitable job. However, make sure to emphasize your wishes for discretion very clearly, especially when multiple recruiters are assisting you.

And of course… mind your use of social media! Even if your profiles aren’t directly linked with your employer’s profiles, your employer may soon find out about your intentions via mutual contacts, posts or reactions, or the good old grapevine. On LinkedIn, you can change your status to ‘open to opportunities’ in a way that your current employer doesn’t see it.

4. It is possible to sign up anonymously on online job boards, but…

You can also sign up anonymously on online job boards such as StepStone, Monster, HotJobs and CareerBuilder. However, if you sign up anonymously companies can often see (too) little information from you.

Applying anonymously could raise the threshold for recruiters and HR staff to contact you for a new job. Therefore we don’t recommend doing this through online job boards.

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