Lots of dental hygienists are fearful (for various reasons) their current employer will find out they are looking for a job, but there are ways to help keep the job search hidden.
A lot of this will seem counter-intuitive to what you should do when you are looking for a job, and it really is. Most job searches require almost the opposite behavior from you to be really successful (you want to be as open as possible). However, there are good reasons as to why some job seekers want to keep things confidential and so you have to balance that against some of the activities you would otherwise do.
Here are five key things you can do to keep your boss and co-workers from knowing about your job search.
Subtle Changes in your Behavior and Attitude
This can be hard because we don’t always perceive we are acting any different when searching for a job. My best advice here to just pay extra-close attention to your attitude and work ethic.
When you know you are leaving (but don’t know when), you may become a touch apathetic about your work and not realize it. Could be following certain in-office protocols that we don’t like or disagree with, or it could be that you don’t feel the drive to connect and communicate as well with patients and co-workers.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad hygienist, it’s just a natural part of what you might feel is a hopeless cause or situation with your employer and it tends to sap you of your normal levels of energy and enthusiasm.
The problem is, however, that your employer and co-workers have probably worked with you long enough to be able to detect even subtle changes. So you really need to be conscious and try to continue work as normal so it doesn’t send up any red flags. I’ve heard many employers and co-workers remark to an employee who has just given notice that they, “kinda suspected” it was coming – it’s just really hard to not give off those signals.
Quiet Your LinkedIn Account
If you use LinkedIn (and many of you do), it’s very common for job seekers to begin updating their profile account (skills, work history, etc.) in preparation for a search. The problem is, those you are connected with could potentially get notices (which are essentially status updates that are in the news feed and sometimes go out in e-mail notices) of those changes and wonder why or conclude you must be preparing for a search.
There’s a simple solution. Turn off your activity broadcasts on LinkedIn before you begin your job search. This will ensure no one gets notices you are making changes. This is done in your account settings, but here’s a quick two-minute tutorial video on how to do it.
Keep the Search at Home
Don’t use an office computer or fax machine for your job search or sending resumes. Even if you are using your own private e-mail to do it, there are too many ways and opportunities for employers and co-workers to easily see what you are doing.
Some offices even secretly monitor employee computer activity or perform random searches of office computer search histories to see what employees are up to. And fax machines sometimes will send a notice back showing what you tried to send several minutes or even an hour later (likely when you aren’t at the machine).
First of all, I would always avoid sending your resume by fax as it looks terrible on the other end, but if you absolutely have to and you don’t have one at home you can either send one through your local office supply store or you can sign up with any number of online faxing services that usually offer a free 30-day trial. MetroFax is one of those I have used.
Avoid checking the job boards and sending resumes on your phone while at work – you may have someone notice you doing it out of the corner of their eye or may get careless when things get busy and set your phone down while the screen is still showing for everyone to see.
You also want to avoid taking calls from potential employers while at work – hopefully that’s a no-brainer. But here’s a tip I have given in the past to help you professionally and discreetly receive calls from potential employers. Create a Google Voice account. This enables you to setup a free phone line, where you can create a custom greeting for your job search.
You can even have that number route to your cell phone (along with your other number) so that you are essentially able to take calls from two different numbers – I do this and it works great. Whenever a job prospect leaves a message, you’ll get an e-mail notice and written transcription of what they said in their message.
Are you bad at keeping secrets? If so, you better get good at it. Avoid telling anyone, except maybe your closest friend or two and family. Even people you trust can innocently let the information slip into the wrong hands.
Don’t post about it on Facebook and Twitter – even if you aren’t socially connected with your boss or co-workers. Things are easily relayed back – remember, nothing is secret on the Internet. If it’s out there, it can be found.
I would even avoid complaining about your job to people you associate with as that’s another sign you are or will soon be looking.
Modify Your Resume
You may want to consider keeping your current employer anonymous. I wrote about this recently. You simply replace the name of the current employer(s) on your resume with something generic like “General Family Practice.”
Then, if asked in an interview you can use your discretion about disclosing who it is. Most potential employers will understand the reasons and keep it confidential if you ask.
Keeping your job search confidential is not easy. However you can do it and the five suggestions above a great start, but there are no doubt some things unique to your situation that can also have an impact. So think through your own situation and do what’s right for you. If you know of others, please share – I would love to hear from you.