Conducting a discreet job search while employed


blue key new jobIf you are currently working in an industry that has been impacted by the pandemic, you may be worried about your future and have started to explore alternative career options. Researching the job market and looking at job boards will help you identify which companies, recruiters and industries are hiring now so you can consider your options and transferable skills before taking action.  

You may feel you are unable to look for a job whilst still employed, however it is possible to proactively, yet discreetly, look for a new opportunity whilst in employment:

Talk to recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies enable you to discreetly approach the market. You just need to ensure they are aware that you are in a role and your employer does not know you are seeking a new opportunity.

  • Some recruiters will send your CV or profile to companies where there is no vacancy and be proactive on your behalf to find opportunities. Ask them to send an anonymous profile and for a copy of the profile before they send it.
  • Avoid providing referee details until you are at least in the interview process if you can, to stop anyone contacting your employer.
  • Job boards allow you to upload your CV so recruiters can find you. However, remember that your company’s HR department may use these job boards to recruit for new roles and will have access to uploaded CVs. Be discreet by identifying the relevant recruiters advertising on these sites and contacting them directly instead.
Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to find a new role. Creating an All Star LinkedIn profile will increase your chances of appearing in recruiter and employer searches. You can also use it proactively to find opportunities too.

  • Turn off your activity broadcasts to ensure you are not updating your network with any changes you make to your profile.
  • You can edit your profile to ‘Open to Work’ or ‘Recruiters only’ in your job preferences setting. However, be careful as your current HR department may also have the recruiter package and your comments will be visible to them.
  • Your job search activity and applications for jobs on LinkedIn is private – your connections can’t see this.
Network to access the hidden job market

Not all job opportunities are advertised on job boards. Utilise LinkedIn and speculatively approach decision makers in the companies where you would like to work. You may need to broaden your network if the industry you are in is declining. Remember that opportunities are attached to people.

  • Follow companies and join LinkedIn groups to extend your networks, ensuring you are first to hear of new opportunities.
  • Attend virtual online events or training. Not only will you upskill and broaden your knowledge, but you will gain access to a new target audience. Connect via LinkedIn after the event and start to build new relations.
  • Discreetly talk to existing contacts in your network. Understand what is going on in their industry and use the information that they give you as leads for opportunities to proactively pursue new roles.

Finally, if you are working from home right now, you may be able to accommodate coffee chats, virtual meetings and online video interviews around your current workload. When managed and planned efficiently, it is still possible to job search whilst in a role.

Renovo is the UK’s leading outplacement and career transition specialist. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email

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