You have every right to look for a new job anytime and anywhere, but there's no sense in letting your boss know your doing it.
And in today's "Transparent World" it's more difficult than ever to conceal.
The Internet, job boards, search engines and social media are true game changers for the job seeker who is, as a result, afforded extreme exposure in a competitive market. For job seekers that are either unemployed or not concerned about who will see their resume, this is great news, according to experts at Harris Allied, a recruiting firm specializing in the placement of technology professionals within the financial services sector.
"All of these tools bring the job seeker the kind of exposure that was not thought possible a decade ago," explained Kathy Harris, managing director at Harris Allied. "But, as with most things, there is a flip side, and for those who are already employed and need to be sure their current employer remains unaware of their job search, or for the C-suite executive who may require more discretion in his or her search, all of this transparency is not necessarily a good thing.
"Now, when something is 'public' it is 'totally public'; there is no middle ground and where your resume ends up is essentially out of your control," Harris said. "In fact, you may not even know in which databases your resume ultimately ends up. As a result, the Internet, job boards and social media may not be viable tools for the job seeker who is not ready to go public with their search just yet."
Harris offers the following dos and don'ts to the job seeker that may need to exercise a little more discretion:
* Do work with a reputable recruiter, one that has come recommended to you or whose reputation is well known. Try to get a sense of whom they know, how they work and what their book of business looks like. Don't assume that just because you are working with a recruiter that they will exercise the necessary discretion.
* Don't post your resume on a job board if you need to embark on a discrete job search. Work with a recruiter or network with those your trust or a mentor. Be meticulous about whom you speak with about your search.
* Do be very targeted with your search. Develop a short list of firms - 3 to 5 - for which you would ideally like to work. You may not end up there but a short list is a very good place to start. By narrowing the scope of your search you also minimize the time spent out of the office interviewing, which can often tip off bosses or colleagues that you may be out there looking.
* Do perform social media hygiene every day. The first thing people do when they are preparing to search for new employment is to update their LinkedIn profile and secure new recommendations. This is a sure-fire tip-off to your boss and associates. If you need to be discrete about your search you should update your LinkedIn profile over time and well before you start your search. Take steps to "own" your online presence by buying your domain name and using vanity URLs on the major social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Keep an optimistic tone and be discreet about your search if you post to a blog. Assume that whatever you post anonymously will be tracked back to you. While this made sound paranoid, it's better than regretting an angry posting that labels you a "hothead."
* Don't use the job boards if your search needs to be on the down low. The boards offer visibility that undermines the confidentiality of your search, so pull your resume if you are searching.
* Do look to your networking groups and centers of influence if you need to be selective about who knows about your search. LinkedIn Labs has a great feature that offers a visual map of how your contacts are connected. This powerful visual representation can let you see just how word of mouth about your job search can spread if you want it to and even if you don't want it to.
* Don't leverage the benefits of transparency to make your boss feel badly or put them on notice about wanting to leave. Your boss has the right to employ you or not employ you. You never want to burn a bridge or tip your hand if you ARE employed. When you have accepted another offer that is the right time to loop your boss in about your departure.
"Technology and social media have put job seekers in a sort of estuary where two bodies of water - transparency for maximum exposure and being too public - have now converged, making for some choppy waters for today's job seeker," explained Harris. "They need to navigate those waters strategically so that their job search is more like smooth sailing than an SOS signal," said Harris.