Job Searching in Secret? How to Find a New Job While Still Employed

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January 16, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
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min read

3 key takeaways

  • How to conduct a successful job search with discretion
  • The best ways to balance your job hunt and your current role
  • What Teal's Job Application Tracker can do to streamline your workflow and organization

If you're thinking about looking for a new role while employed, gear up for a journey that requires some discretion and planning. 

Keeping up with your current role's demands while covertly updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, taking calls with potential employers, and handling time off for interviews all require a delicate balancing act (and doing it under the radar adds an extra layer of complexity).

You need to maintain confidentiality in every step, from updating your job search assets to interview prep. With the right approach, you can scout for that next opportunity without raising any red flags with your current employer.

The art of discreet job searching

Understanding how to find a new job while employed is as much about maintaining your professional relationships as about keeping your job.

Not only can your employer be a valuable future reference (making a positive rapport necessary), but protecting your current role can help mitigate uncomfortable situations or even pre-emptive termination. Discretion isn't only a matter of courtesy but also a strategic move to safeguard your career and professional relationships.

Tips for how to apply for jobs without your employer knowing

Creating a job search plan is the first step in any job hunt. A discreet search requires some additional considerations.

1. Separate your job search from work

Only use personal time, devices, and contact details for your job hunt activities. Remember, you're still being paid to work, and your equipment doesn't belong to you—do your best to prevent accidental breaches of privacy or professionalism.

2. Make gradual social media changes

Update your professional profiles like LinkedIn slowly and strategically rather than making extensive changes that can draw attention.

3. Avoid certain topics during conversation

Your co-workers don't need to (and shouldn't) be involved in your job search. Avoid having conversations about your intent to leave your current role with anyone in your workplace (including with trusted co-workers). Even casual conversation can inadvertently lead to leaks.

4. Schedule interviews strategically

Whenever possible, arrange interviews outside of your regular working hours. If you need time off, take it sparingly. Don't try to sneak out for interviews (yes, even if you're remote), as this can increase suspicion and mistrust and even lead to termination.

5. Adjust privacy settings on job platforms

Make sure your profiles on job boards and LinkedIn are set to private or confidential—preventing your current employer from stumbling across them.

Pro Tip: If you want to show you're “open to work” on LinkedIn without drawing public attention, the site offers a "Recruiters only" privacy setting.

A screenshot of LinkedIn's Open to Work privacy settings.
Choose and showcase that you're #OpenToWork to recruiters.

Balancing current employment and a job search

Your full-time job is your bread and butter until you secure a new role. The daily tasks, responsibilities, commitments, and deadlines are still yours to manage, and maintaining focus is crucial so your performance stays strong (and you continue getting paid). 

Whether you're interacting with colleagues or clients, it's about conducting yourself ethically and upholding your brand with integrity—committing to follow up and follow through on your obligations.

So, what are some actionable ways to apply for jobs while employed without neglecting your responsibilities and compromising your relationship with your current company?

How to manage current job responsibilities while job searching

  1. Set clear boundaries: Designate specific times for job search activities that don't interfere with your work hours.
  2. Stay organized: Use a personal planner, digital calendar, or even a project management tool like Asana or Jira to effectively handle your job search and current position tasks and deadlines. (On your personal tech, not your employee equipment or using your company login.) 
  3. Prioritize: Focus on high-priority work tasks — ensuring your key performance metrics (KPIs) don't slip.
  4. Review your performance: Set aside weekly time to review your work performance. This will help you determine if your search impacts your current job so you can adjust accordingly.
  5. Automate job alerts: Set up job alerts from various job boards to receive notifications about relevant positions. (This will save time you might otherwise spend manually searching for job openings.)
  6. Streamline your approach: In the same way that companies have CRMs, you need a tool (like Teal) to manage your job search (and all of your assets) in one central location. 
A screenshot of Teal’s Job Application Tracker showing how to organize a job search while employed
Organize your job search and opportunities in one location.

Networking while employed

Building a professional network is more than just hitting LinkedIn's "Connect" button and hoping a job lands in your lap. It's about building relationships—both online and in person—with those in your industry. 

Not only can networking be a crucial part of job hunting, but it's also part of building your personal and professional brand—something you should do consistently regardless of your employment or job search status. 

To network online, you should consistently:

  • Engage with industry-related content on social platforms
  • Comment thoughtfully on posts
  • Share relevant articles
  • Consider publishing your insights or experiences 
  • Join online industry groups or forums and participate in discussions

Remember, the goal is to foster meaningful connections, not just increase your contacts.

If you can or want to opt for in-person events, stick to attending them after work hours to avoid conflicts with your job responsibilities. 

In both situations, networking requires tact when you're employed. And whether online or in person, be mindful in your conversations about your current role, and keep any negative parts or thoughts about your job to yourself. 

Interviewing while employed

Organization and planning are key when scheduling interviews while you're still employed. Teal research on how to job search highlights that it can take up to 6 first round interviews to get one job offer.

Graphic showing it can take up to 6 interviews to get one job offer when searching for a job while still employed
Be prepared to organize multiple interviews around your work schedule.

Keeping your work and job search schedules in one location for easy reference can help you avoid scheduling conflicts—ensuring you complete all work-related commitments without any snags.

Tips for interviewing while employed:

  1. Arrange any remote or in-person interview during non-working hours or use personal time off—minimizing the impact on your current job.
  2. Allocate time outside working hours to research the company. Practice your responses to ensure you present yourself in the best possible light before meeting with the hiring manager.
  3. Focus on your skills, experiences, impact, and what you can bring to the new role.
  4. If a prospective employer asks what's prompting you to look for work while you still have a job, focus on what you want to gain from a new role, not what's wrong with your current employer.

Managing your job search while employed

Searching for a job while employed requires more than what manual spreadsheets and multiple job platforms offer. 

You need an efficient and streamlined process and the right job search management tools to handle the complexities and time constraints of balancing a job hunt alongside your current responsibilities.

 Navigating different job boards and roles is a challenge because:

  • Job opportunities are scattered across various sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter.
  • Each job board has its unique interface and tracking system.
  • Organizing separate logins for different boards complicates the process.
  • Manual updates are necessary, leading to the tedious task of saving roles and details individually.
  • Tracking companies, hiring managers, and various applications can fragment your search, potentially causing you to miss out on opportunities.

But Teal's Job Search CRM offers a solution to the chaos.

With Teal's Chrome Extension (which also works in Brave, Edge, and Opera!), you can save roles from over 40 job boards in one central location. This eliminates the hassle of tracking applications, positions, contacts, and company details across different sites—simplifying your job search and saving you time with a focused and systematized approach.

Navigating job boards

While a nontraditional job search can be a great experience, sometimes a more conventional approach, like job sites, can make looking for a new position while employed more manageable and less time-consuming

Best job boards for your job search: 

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Monster
  • Glassdoor
  • Otta
  • Built In
  • Wellfound
  • Zippia

Teal's Chrome Extension allows you to save listings from 40+ job boards directly to your Teal Job Application Tracker.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Install the extension: Download Teal's Chrome Extension to your browser.
  2. Scan opportunities: As you search through job postings, use the extension to save jobs that interest you.
  3. Organize your search: Rate your excitement, save contacts, take notes, manage (and track!) applications, set follow-up reminders, and more.

Keep your resume ready

To get the most out of the limited time you have to find a new job while working, it's important to update your job search assets so they're ready to go when an opportunity piques your interest. Especially if you're trying to find a job fast, doing some work on the front end can help you save time when you're ready to hit "Apply."

Teal's AI Resume Builder pairs with the Job Application Tracker, so your assets are:

  • Organized
  • Updated
  • Stored in the same place where you manage your search 

Use it to create a "master resume" you can easily tailor for each role you apply to.

To use Teal’s Resume Builder:

  1. Import your LinkedIn profile, a current resume, or create a new resume from scratch. 
  2. Draft and organize your professional history with all of your achievements, skills, certifications, projects, and more. 
  3. Use AI, your own words, or a combination of both to write your summary, customized achievements, and cover letter. 
  4. When you're ready to hit apply, select the details most relevant to that specific role.
A graphic showing how to use Teal to aling your resume with a role during a job search while employed
Create a master resume, then select the details that align best with each unique role.

Job search discreetly and stay organized with Teal

Learning how to look for a job while employed means keeping your activities private to protect your current role and maintain good relationships. Organization is key, especially when managing assets, applications, timelines, follow-ups, and your existing work responsibilities.

Teal offers a comprehensive solution to help you simplify your job search workflow.

With tools like the Job Application Tracker and AI Resume Builder, Teal makes tracking job applications and updating your professional assets easy—enabling you to manage your job search discreetly, keeping your applications, follow-ups, and resume updates neatly organized in one place.

Confidently pursue new opportunities with the knowledge your current position and reputation are secure because you're prepared and organized.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some discreet ways to network when looking for a new job while still employed?

Discreet networking involves leveraging online platforms like LinkedIn with privacy settings adjusted to prevent updates from being broadcasted to your network. Additionally, attending industry-specific events or setting up informational interviews under the guise of broad professional development can provide opportunities to connect with potential employers without drawing attention to your job search.

How can I ensure my current employer doesn't find out about my job interviews?

Schedule interviews during your personal time, such as before or after work, or during lunch hours. If necessary, take personal leave or a day off for longer interviews. Be discreet about your attire; if you need to dress up for an interview, consider changing clothes off-site to avoid suspicion. Also, avoid using company resources like your work email or phone to coordinate interviews.

Is it acceptable to use my current job's work as examples in interviews for a new position?

Yes, it is acceptable and often encouraged to use relevant examples from your current job to demonstrate your skills and achievements during interviews. However, ensure that you do not disclose any confidential or proprietary information about your current employer. Frame your experiences in a way that showcases your contributions without compromising your company's privacy or violating any agreements.

Kayte Grady

Kayte, Senior Copywriter at Teal and Champion of ADHD professionals, is a seasoned writer passionate about storytelling and career growth. With a data-driven approach to content marketing and a word-nerd knack for resume builder analysis, Kayte’s on a mission to empower job seekers to land a job they love. Constantly pivoting and reinventing herself, this social-worker-turned-marketer found growth and camaraderie in tech—a genuine surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

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