• Amanda Ewing

It's a small world: Why you need a stealth job Search strategy

With Jobkeeper ending, the travel industry now faces some hard decisions. You might find that you are between a rock and a hard place. You could be facing redundancy or looking to leave the industry, but out of loyalty to your boss, who struggles to keep the doors open, you may need to conduct your job search privately. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Let’s have a look at what steps you can take to keep your job search on the down-low.


1. Time for some tight lips. While you will need to talk with people about your job search, make sure they know your job search is confidential. Be particularly careful who you tell at work. It's easy for someone to let it slip.

2. Tell recruiters your search is confidential. Remember the whole 6 degrees of separation thing…you just never know who knows who. By informing your recruiter that your search is confidential, you can ask them to notify you before they submit you as a candidate for a role. They might be missing critical insights, such as your boss being friends with that firms CEO.

3. Create a confidential version of your resume. Replace your name with "Confidential Candidate" at the top. Create and use a generic Gmail account that doesn't include your name or any other information that identifies you. Remove your current company's name. Replace it with words such as "Confidential" or "Current Employer". Remove your contact information except your generic email address, personal cell phone number, City and State. Exclude university names and dates from the experience and education sections. Update the file name, and the Properties box in Microsoft Word to remove your name.

At Work

4. Being absent: How many times have you had a ‘Doctors Appointment’ or thrown a sicky lately to do that all-important interview? Try to schedule interviews for outside work hours, before work, after work, during lunch etc. Having too many appointments or sick days can raise a red flag for your boss. If a recruiter wants you, they will be flexible.

5. Dressing for Success: Turned up today looking schmick ready for that mid-morning interview (err, I mean dentist appointment)? This can be a dead giveaway that you are up to something. If you can't schedule for outside of work, then perhaps take a change of clothes, so it's not blindingly obvious that you look different today.

6. Don’t use work resources: Need to print your resume, don’t do it at work. Ask a friend or neighbour if you can use their printer or if you can't access a printer outside of work, then seek out a printing service near you. You don't want to get caught out cos someone has found your resume left on the office printer.

Got a screening call, don’t do it at work. Talking to a resume writer, recruiter or potential employer on the phone? If you're at work, it's not a good time. Ask them if you can call them back on your lunch break or organise a time where you know 100% that you won't be overheard.

Looking online for roles, don’t do it at work. This shouldn't come as a surprise, but your work computer or laptop is not confidential. The IT department can quickly look up your browser history or check your emails if asked. So be smart. Keep your job search personal.

Don't use your work email. It takes 2 seconds to set up a Gmail account. Some people even set up a new email address specifically for job search purposes.

Applying for Roles

7. Don’t respond to ‘blind ads’ where the name of the company is not given. More than one job seeker has applied for 'the perfect job' to find it was their own job being advertised. Awkward!

8. Apply directly on the company website. Don't post your resume online. It may be found by someone at your current company. Resumes posted publicly stay out there forever.

9. Ask your prospective employer to ensure your job search remains in confidence. Most people take this for granted. If your secret isn’t kept, you have just learned a great deal about that company.

Social Media

10. Keep your social media posts personal. Don't post about your job search or being dissatisfied with your job, no matter how secure you think your privacy settings are. Also, don't contribute to job seeking groups. By all means, read the comments or discussions, but if you have questions or want to network, then slide into their DM's to keep it private.

11. Switch your LinkedIn profile to stealth mode: In a confidential job search, it's essential to update your security settings. LinkedIn is set to 'broadcast mode' by default, so it notifies everyone in your network when you post or edit information. Avoid flooding connections with profile change notifications and subsequently alerting the boss to your job search. Instructions for changing settings are located at LinkedIn Help.

12. Give your LinkedIn profile a once over: Sense check your headline probs not a good idea to state that you are openly seeking work. Instead, add your current job title with some notable achievements, expertise descriptors or a USP that might catch a recruiters attention. Example: Senior Management Executive with Expertise in Developing Global Sales & Marketing Operations

Avoid using the 'Open to Work' banner on your profile pic. Your 'about summary' should be written as if you were going to stay in your current job forever. Appreciate and promote your current employer. Other employers will warm to the tone and loyalty. A currently employed person must appear to be networking with peers, potential clients, vendors and others.


13. Think about who you can call upon: If your job search is private, then using anyone at your current workplace is off-limits. You may think a co-corker is ok instead of your manager but remember, with secrets, the more people that know, the more chance it will get out. Try reaching out to your previous employer and co-workers first. You could also consider any community or volunteer activities you take part in as potential references. Make sure you give them a heads up and that they have something good to say about you. It's not a good look if they can't even remember who you are or if you left on grisly terms.

The bonus of looking for a new job while still employed allows you to take your time and find the best fit for your next career move. So make sure your boss doesn’t find out about your search…or at least not until you’re ready to disclose it. But if you do get confronted about it, then be honest. Use it as an opportunity to talk about what you want or why you are unhappy. This could lead to positive outcomes, but if it doesn't, then perhaps double down your job search efforts; after all, everything is out in the open now.

For the month of April 2021, I’m offering a FREE 15-minute job search strategy call. To organise a chat email me at

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