Keeping it Secret: 8 Tips to Avoid Getting Fired for Job Hunting

When your employer knows you're looking for work, it puts your job security at risk because you're no longer viewed as loyal. Plus, your employer might start treating you differently since you won't be around much longer. That means you're better off keeping your job hunt a secret until you're ready to give your two-weeks' notice.


With that said, take a look at these eight tips to avoid getting fired for job hunting.



Don't Tell Your Coworkers You're Looking for Work


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Image via Flickr by kate hiscock



It's natural to form friendships with your coworkers and share information about your family and life outside of work. However, you shouldn't let your coworkers know that you're looking for a new job because they might slip this information to your boss, even by accident. Plus, work gossip is one sure way to get you in trouble because if you tell one coworker, the news will spread fast. It's also possible to alienate yourself from other coworkers if they know you're looking for work because they know they won't be seeing you anymore.



Don't Use Your Work Computer or Email to Job Hunt


Many businesses monitor the computer activity of their employees, even during "personal time." This is to prevent employees from wasting time on social media sites or using work computers for inappropriate behavior. If you work for a business that monitors your activity, don't use your work computer or your work email to job hunt because there's no guarantee of privacy. Sure, your employer might not look at your activity very often or closely, but it still puts you at risk for exposing your job hunt. Just do your job search from home.



Don't Use Your Work Phone Number or Address on Job Applications


Your current employer can find out you're job hunting if you use your work phone number or address on your resume because they might stumble upon it when surfing the Internet. They might even have a Google Alert set up to notify them when their business is mentioned on the Internet. Besides, potential employers want to know where you live, not where you work because sometimes your location is the deciding factor between you and another candidate. For instance, hiring you might be less expensive because relocation costs will be lower.



Don't Ask to Take Random Time Off During Business Hours for Interviews


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Image via Flickr by bpsusf



It looks suspicious if you keep asking for an hour or two off work at random times of the day. If you do it often enough, your boss might get clued into the fact that you're looking for work. One strategy to avoid this is to try to plan interviews during your lunch break. Also, it's less suspicious if you tell your boss you want to get off work early, so interviews at the end of the day are a good idea, too. It's never a good idea to lie about the reason you need time off because you could get caught, but that doesn't mean you need to divulge that you have a job interview.



Don't Use Your Boss as a Reference on Job Applications


It's still standard practice for potential employers to check your references. Therefore, don't use your current boss as a reference because as soon as he or she is called, your job hunt will be exposed. Unfortunately, sometimes you're asked to give contact information for your current employer on your application. Avoid this unless you think you have a really good chance of getting the job. If you're lucky, your potential employer won't ask for this information until they're ready to extend you a position contingent on your references.



Don't Announce Your Job Hunt on Social Media


Networking is the best way to find a job, so it makes sense to tell everyone you know that you're looking for work. Social media is a great way to do this, but chances are high that your job hunt will be exposed at work because you probably have work connections on your accounts. You have to decide whether it's more important that your job hunt remain a secret or more important to use your social media connections to find a job. You really can't do both. However, you can build up your social media presence to make yourself more appealing to potential employers.



Don't Damage Your Online Reputation


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Image via Flickr by Gayla Baer-Taylor



Potential employers often look at your social media accounts and online presence to see if your personality and lifestyle is a good fit for their company. You don't want anything on the Internet that would make you look like a risk. Do what you can to clean up your online presence. For instance, remove any photos of yourself drinking or engaging in irresponsible behavior. Unfortunately, it's really difficult to remove damaging information about yourself from the Internet so prevention is key.



Don't Plaster Your Resume on Job Boards


Contrary to popular belief, businesses don't look at resumes on job boards when they're hiring. All they do is look at the pool of candidates that actually applied for a position. Resumes posted on job boards are really only used by recruiters. Posting your resume on a job board puts you at risk of being exposed for looking for work because your resume can show up if your current employer searches for your name on a search engine. That's why it's best to avoid plastering your resume everywhere. It's simply not an effective way to find a job.


If you're looking for work, it's really easy for your employer to find out if you don't take precautions to prevent it. Plus, did you know that your current employer could actually hurt your chances of getting a position at the company you desire? Some industries have been known to make unethical arrangements not to poach employees. Non-compete clauses can also complicate your job hunt. Keep your current employer out of the equation and you'll have better chances at finding a new job.



Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Evans



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