According to the US Department of Labor, about 2 million Americans quit their jobs every year. And while these statistics are typically lower for executive-level employees, more and more senior-level team members are looking for new opportunities outside their current roles.
Whether this is because you’re seeking new responsibilities, higher pay, you’re dissatisfied with some aspect of your company, or you’re just looking for a change, it’s important to conduct your job search with discretion. Speculation that you’re seeking new positions can lead to your company making plans to let you go prematurely.
To avoid this situation, follow these tips to conduct an executive-level job search with due diligence and etiquette:
- Only involve the most critical people in your job search. A majority of new career opportunities are uncovered through personal networks, but be selective when reaching out to your connections. When you’re conducting this search, you should have a very specific idea of the type of position that you would want. Only reach out to those people that have a pathway to that type of position.
Tailor your messages to each specific person, and make sure to let them know that your job search is confidential and that you appreciate their discretion. If you involve professional recruiters in your search, consider providing a list of employers you’d like to avoid if you think word may spread about your career pursuits.
- Don’t job search on company time. Besides this being a dishonest and borderline unethical practice, suspicion can be raised if your productivity or level of engagement drops. In today’s technical age, it’s easy to track email, search engine queries, and telephone calls that are conducted with company property.
Moreover, if potential employers realize that you’re using company time to look for a new opportunity, they may assume you’re a time thief and that you would just as soon do the same thing to them. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and to use your personal time to pursue new careers.
- Create a limited-view resume. This is especially important if you upload your resume anywhere online. Remember to remove any personal identifiers, and replace your name with “confidential candidate.” Additionally, remove any product or market-specific keywords that could accidentally identify your current employer, as these could come up in alerts or searches for your company.
As with recruiters or connections that you reach out to, make it clear in your resume and cover letter that you are conducting a confidential search.
- Commit to “finishing strong.” Don’t let your performance or attitude slump when you start looking for new opportunities. View your last few weeks and months as a chance to leave a strong legacy, and to ensure that you’re not burning bridges when you leave your current position.
Executives didn’t get to where they are by being cavalier and careless in their professional pursuits. Handle yourself with the same savvy and professionalism that you use in your current job when it comes to looking for new opportunities. By using these tips to conducting a confidential job search, you’ll ensure that you leave your old company on a good note and you start your new role in the best position possible.