Don’t Get Fired for Job Hunting

WorkCoachCafePeople do get fired when their employers discover that they are job hunting. While this sounds extreme to most people, this reaction is common for most employers.

Quitting your old job before
you find a new job is NOT usually smart!

Unless your personal safety is at risk or your employer is doing something illegal, continue to work there until you find a new job.

Definitely don’t let your employer’s attitude make you quit your current job before you have landed that new one! When you are unemployed, you are automatically less interesting to prospective employers. So, by quitting your job, you are going to have a more challenging job search. Read Should You Quit Your Job Before You Have a New Job? NO! for more details.

Unfortunately, the reason for employers’ negative reaction is bad experience with other employees who have left to go to new jobs:

  • Job performance dropped because those job-seeking employees weren’t focused on doing their jobs — those employees were more interested in finding new jobs.
  • When the employee departs, they may take valued things with them, from customer and prospect information to company secrets and, even, other employees.

Bottom line for the employer: The employee is leaving. Therefore, the employee is disloyal and can no longer be trusted. So, when you decide it’s time to find a job with another employer, keep your intention to leave very private. With the daily use of technology in most jobs, keeping your job search private can be a challenge.

7 Rules to Safely Job Search While Still Employed

To keep your job and your income stream, follow these rules:

1. **NEVER job search at work!!!**

This is the BIGGEST mistake people make! Understandable, because a job search outside of work is more difficult.

If you use the work telephone, computer, WiFi, smartphone, the result is often deadly for your job. These resources are all often monitored to protect the security of the network, but that monitoring often reveals visits to job boards, emailed resumes, calls to/from competitors and potential employers, and other job-search related activities. And, everyone has heard the stories about resumes left in the office copier — not subtle or smart.

2. Do not use your employers’ equipment at home for your job search.

If you have employer-owned equipment or services you use at home (like a cellphone or computer), don’t use them for your job search for the same reason you should avoid job hunting at work. That equipment and those services will probably be monitored, and the monitoring may uncover your job search efforts.

3. Set up personal — but private — contact information.

You will need a way for employers to contact you. I don’t recommend using either your work or your home address and phone numbers.

  • Use a neutral, portable email address. Gmail is usually considered the best. Avoid an email address tied to a location like Comcast or Time-Warner or one considered “old technology” like AOL, HotMail, or Yahoo mail.
  • Use a private, non-work phone number. If you don’t want to provide your personal phone number, consider an option like Google Voice which is a number that can be forwarded to any number you choose. It also saves voicemail which can be sent to you via email.
  • Use your current (or target) city and state or region for your location, when required (as on your LinkedIn Profile) rather than providing your home address.

Then, make this contact information visible on your LinkedIn Profile, in the contact info section at the top of your Profile. Or add it to your LinkedIn Summary.

Setting up neutral contact information means you will be reachable regardless of where you live or work

4. Use personal “networking cards” rather than your work business cards for your job search.

Don’t risk handing out your employer’s business cards for your job search.The safest business cards for job search don’t contain work or personal contact information. Use “networking cards” rather than work business cards for their job search. Inappropriate and/or ill-timed calls or voicemail messages can put a job at risk.

Buy or make networking cards (card stock for home printers is available in most stationery stores and Amazon, etc.) which contain the job search email address and job search phone number.

5. Don’t announce your job search publicly on LinkedIn or other social media.

DO be very, VERY, *VERY* visible in LinkedIn! But be smart about how you use it.

Since most recruiters are measured on “time-to-hire” (how fast they fill a job), they prefer to search for qualified job candidates rather than combing through the avalanche of applications and resumes that result from job postings.

Your LinkedIn Profile —

Even if you hate where you work, don’t make that visible in your LinkedIn Profile.

I’ve seen too many employed LinkedIn members
with”Seeking New Opportunities” in their professional headlines.
Yikes! That’s like stamping “fire me” on their foreheads.


Your LinkedIn Groups —

You can join up to 100 LinkedIn Groups now, up from 50 last year, so take advantage of Groups as an opportunity to increase your visibility as well as increasing your network and learning more about the Group’s topic. Also, share good information you find or write yourself.

LinkedIn Groups are very useful for job search, but be careful in how you use them.

  • Be visible in Groups by commenting appropriately and sharing useful information relevant to your profession, industry, location (or whatever the Group is about).
  • Don’t announce in a LinkedIn Group that you are job hunting. It is too easy for another employee to see it.
  • Don’t make the logo of a job search related LinkedIn Group visible on your LinkedIn Profile. Again, this is much too easy for an employer to find.

A typical job posting receives 250 resume submissions, with less than 50% of those resumes from applicants who are actually qualified for the job. This makes searching for qualified candidates, typically on LinkedIn, the most effective method of filling jobs.

6. Don’t openly post your resume on a job board.

NEVER openly post a resume on a job board, particularly one that includes the employer’s name. Since the dawn of, employers have regularly searched through the resumes posted on job boards looking for employees’ resumes, usually searching on the company name, as in IBM or Exxon Mobil. When a current employee resume is found, that employee is usually in hot water.

So, while posting a resume in a site like‘s resume bank is a very smart move (because recruiters search it relentlessly), the job seeker’s identity needs to be protected and the current employer’s name needs to be disguised. When possible, block the name from being visible. Definitely disguise the company name! Replace “IBM” with “Fortune 25 multinational IT company” or other description.

7. Don’t confide in your co-workers.

The old saying “Loose lips sink ships” applies to job search as well. You may have one or two close friends at work you can trust, but don’t share with anyone who might blow your cover.

Job Search Is Changing

In the future, our next jobs will probably find us, if we know how to be effectively visible using LinkedIn. Personal SEO (search engine optimization) is the new necessity of professional life. Understand the best keywords for the job or career desired, and use those keywords as appropriate (and honest) in LinkedIn Profiles, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

More on Being Hired Today

To Be Hired: Be Found Where Recruiters Look

To Be Hired: Be Focused and Clear About the Job You Want

To Be Hired: Be Found — Your Best Keywords 

Keywords Critical for Your Career: Your Name 


About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoachCafe.  A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan also edits and publishes and is a columnist on HuffingtonPost and LinkedIn.  Follow Susan on Twitter (@jobhuntorg) and on Google+.

Speak Your Mind