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Confidential Job Search the Right Way. Or, is it?

Businessman leaking confidential information over phone

By Lucie Yeomans
CEO of Your Career Ally
Published Oct. 24, 2016, LinkedIn Pulse


Remember Janell, the sales rock star I told you about last week who carelessly went about her confidential job search and got herself fired in the process? Her colleague, Jack, watched her very closely and decided he would conduct his confidential job search much differently.

Jack was very strategic in his job search. Jack occasionally left work a little early or slipped away for offsite lunches. Jack met with old contacts he had not talked to in a while and some targeted contacts he stayed connected with over time. He never came right out and asked his connections for a job during these conversations. He simply used the time to showcase what a thought leader he was in his industry and asked thoughtful, strategic questions. Many of those questions resulted in his contacts saying to him, “You should talk to <enter hiring manager name>. S/he would love to brainstorm this topic with you. I’ll introduce the two of you.”

Perfect! Jack gathered quite a few names of potential hiring managers this way. But, he was not quick to meet with them. Jack, being a savvy professional, researched his new contacts and their companies before ever having a conversation with any of them. Because he was unhappy in his job, he wanted to make sure he wasn’t getting himself into a similar or worse situation.

(But, Lucie, why didn’t Jack ask his connections for a job when he met with them if that’s exactly what he wanted? Isn’t that counterproductive? Stay tuned for the next article on Devin’s experience with networking strategies. It will surely surprise you.)

Jack remained patient throughout his job search. He knew just because he was ready to find a new job, that didn’t mean the perfect job was ready and waiting for him. Yes, he was more than ready for a change, but not if it meant entering into a company culture that neither fit his style, nor his style fit the company’s. It wasn’t long before Jack networked his way into a new job at a company that was a better fit for him.

What, if anything, did Jack do wrong if it ultimately led him to a better job? Jack used company time and company technology to search for a new job. He sent emails using his work address and used his office phone to call his connections. He even conducted a phone screening or two using his office phone. Jack was lucky. He didn’t get caught, but others have been rather unlucky, like Janell.

When conducting a confidential job search, always use your personal phone, computer, and email. You should also do all of your networking and job searching on your time, not the company’s time and dime. Many IT departments are requested to occasionally scan employee computers and phone logs for potentially damaging information. Do yourself a favor; use your own equipment and your own time. It sends the right message to your potential new employer.

Have you made one or more of these mistakes in your job search? Click here for a free Confidential Job Search Checklist to help you get started or contact me at or to learn more about how I can help you maneuver through obstacles and avoid making costly mistakes.

Meanwhile Devin has been busy conducting lots of that dreaded word “networking,” but his effective strategies are different than you might think. Stay tuned for Devin’s story in this continuing series.

Lucie Yeomans is the founder and CEO of Your Career Ally and Sick Resumes and specializes in helping confidential job seekers and college grads effectively market themselves and ace interviews. She recently won 2 out of only 4 ROAR awards for outstanding resumes from The National Resume Writers’ Association and was invited to join the exclusive Forbes Coaches Council membership. She holds a B.A. in Journalism, M.A.T., and has earned several professional certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and job search strategy. She has shared her expertise with thousands through podcast, workshops, speaking engagements, and coaching. You can reach Lucie at