Conducting a discrete job search


job search on laptopIt is not uncommon for people to look for a new role whilst they are still in employment. However there can be a tendency, due to time constraints, to adopt a more reactive approach to your job search, however, you can still proactively look for a new opportunity whilst in employment by employing a discrete job search – there are just a few things to consider.

Search and apply in your own time

One of the first things to do is to ensure you have set up a personal email address and personal telephone number so that there are no traces of a job search connected to your current place of employment. Managers can quite easily get access to your work email and can find out information, such as, who you have been calling from your work mobile if needed so ensure that you are keeping your job search separate and that way it’s less likely for anyone to suspect that you are looking for a new opportunity.

You want to leave companies with a good impression so avoid abusing work time to look for new opportunities.

Network and job search discretely

Having conversations with your network and people not directly connected to or associated with your current employer is a good way to plant the seed and begin discussions. This is a good way of increasing referrals to your contacts wider network or even recruiters that your contacts have worked with before.  Don’t ask people ‘out right’ for a job – you simply just need to talk to people about what is going on in your industry or their industry and use the information that they give you as leads for opportunities that you can proactively pursue yourself (eg companies moving to the local area that you could speculatively approach)

You can research and target organisations that you currently know of that could benefit from your skill set and knowledge. Think of competitors or organisations you currently work for, or even clients or suppliers (although you do need to ensure there is not a clause written into your contract that prevents you from doing this) and approach them directly.

Use social media sensibly

This sounds obvious however, even subtle postings about having a bad day or a small vent on Facebook can make people suspicious so avoid oversharing on social media and keep your vents and rants offline.
You can use Linkedin sensibly and effectively to increase your visibility to prospective employers and recruiters. Getting involved in group discussions and sharing industry related articles with your connections which can position you as someone who is enthusiastic about what you do and an expert in your field. This will be looked upon positively by recruiters and key decision makers in organisations.


  • Turn off your activity broadcasts so you are not updating your network every time you connect with a recruiter or change your profile.
  • You don’t need to say you are actively looking for work on your profile – recruiters will still contact you if your LinkedIn profile is selling you effectively enough
  • Hide the visibility of your connections so if you are connected to anyone at work they can’t see if you are connected to recruiters
  • Your job search activity and applications for jobs on LinkedIn is private – your connections can’t see this.
  • If anyone does ask why you have updated your profile – you don't need to explain your discrete job search, you could just simply say that you are conscious that the organisations clients may be researching people on LinkedIn so you wanted to ensure that you looked professional.
  • You can use LinkedIn to research hiring managers at the target companies that you want to work for and start to connect with them. That way you can privately contact them through LinkedIn.

Some employers do prefer to hire candidates who are employed so you are in a stronger position (especially when it comes to negotiating salary) but you need to be discreet so that you don’t jeopardise your current career. When managed and planned properly a discreet job search can still be proactive!

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. 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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