7 Tips to Keep Your Job Search Under the Radar

Secret job search

Looking for a new job with discretion

You have been thinking over and over about it and have come to the conclusion that it is time to look for a new job. You thought about the pros and cons and decided that finding a new home for your career path is the right choice.

Sometimes it’s the inability to learn new things in your current role, sometimes it’s the difficulty of growing in level and responsibility in the company, and sometimes you simply have to escape toxic and dysfunctional situations. Now that you have made up your mind, you just need to avoid missteps that make it clear to your current employer that you are open to new opportunities or on the hunt for a new job. First you need to figure out which of the two conditions you are in: are you actively or passively looking for new opportunities?

The answer to this question seems trivial, but it determines the effort you will have to devote to finding a new job. Usually those who do not have to ‘run away’ from their current jobs can afford a passive approach, one of openness to selected and limited possible opportunities that will arise in the near future. Those who are actively seeking must devote time (at least ten hours a week) to the search for a new job opportunity. The brief guide below considers the two possible approaches.

1. Make a wish list

In Italian, there is a famous saying that incites people to avoid going from the frying pan into the fire, which means that when changing jobs, one always wants to and should try to improve one’s job position, economically, professionally and personally. 

You have the privilege of having a current paying job and so you have the luxury of pausing to think about what you really want for the next step in your career.
I recommend that you reflect on your successes and mistakes at work over the past few years to set up your job search in the best possible way. You want to and can only start your search when you have clearly defined what you want, what you aspire to. 


Try to make clarity in you, answer some of these questions:

– What do I like to do in my current job?
– What do I not like to do in my current job?
– In the future do I want to be an employee, a freelancer, or do I want to found a startup?
– Do I want to work for a startup, scale-up, or a big corporation?
– Do I want to have the responsibilities of a team? And if so, how big?
– Do I feel that the current balance between work and personal life is adequate, or do I want to give more space to work/my interests/family in the future?
– What would make me really happy in my next work experience?
– Are there any knowledge gaps that I would like to bridge before I set out to find a new job?
– What minimum wage do I plan to accept for my next work experience?
– What are my values? What are indispensable in my new workplace?
– Do I want to work remotely, onsite, or in a hybrid mode?
– Am I willing to relocate and start a new life elsewhere for a great job opportunity?

2. How much time to devote to the search

As anticipated, you need to decide early on whether this search of yours will be passive or active and in any case how much time per week you will devote to this activity (typically 1-2 hours for passive searches, about 10 for active searches). The decision should take into account your current workloads, your personal situation (family, children, hobbies, sports), and how quickly you intend to find a new job. You do not want to place unnecessary stress on yourself due to the job search. 

So try to be credible with your initial decision with respect to the weekly time to be allocated and possibly vary the hours over time if you see that your current effort is not producing the desired results. What you want to avoid is for your research to negatively affect your current productivity at work; this is a red flag that might make your current managers and employers suspicious.

3. Work is work, job search is job search

You absolutely must avoid blurring the lines between your current job and your search for a new job. It sounds stupid to say, but you must avoid using working hours to search for open positions online, to take interviews or tests.

Many companies monitor your work PC history and can easily intercept your intentions and in the most serious cases anticipate your leaving the company with a layoff…

The temptation in a work-from-home or hybrid world is great, but you must resist. The only thing you are allowed to do is send resumes or answer short screening calls during breaks in your workday, but remember to do these activities on devices you own.

Actual interviews should be scheduled during lunch breaks and before or after normal working hours. Alternatively, you must take time off work to have interviews (obviously without making this explicit to your employer). I’ve had people interview on video from office bathrooms; if you can, avoid it. It doesn’t project a good professional image of you.

A good recruiter and potential future employer will be able to offer you physical or virtual meeting opportunities outside of normal business hours.

If you are asked to take tests or work on assignments, ask to be able to do this over the weekend to have time to apply yourself to these activities without shirking the duties of your current job (this also projects a good impression of you to the prospective employer).

4. Create your enriched profile on OnlyTopTalent

Our online reverse recruitment platform allows you to create a personal profile with a wealth of information that catches the attention of recruiters and headhunters and saves you up to 50% of the time in your job search. In fact, the profile contains a ton of information about your personal and professional characteristics and your professional aspirations and desires that make your job search easier and more effective. Your page also contains your language, hard skills and personality test results. 

Finally, the profile includes a video screening interview with your answers. Instead of repeating the usual information each time to different recruiters and headhunters, your page provides all the elements to make an initial assessment of your skills and abilities, and this allows you to move directly to the most interesting stages of the selection process (such as the interview with the hiring manager). Top talent on our platform, moreover, can take advantage of the passive job search mode in which companies apply to you and not vice versa! Remember that your personal page is anonymous and therefore only the people you decide can make the match between the information on the page and your identity. Find out how to become a Top Talent and have your own personal page here.

5. Discreetly update your resume and LinkedIn profile

Your resume and LinkedIn profile are the basic tools for dealing with a job search. Make sure they are up-to-date, highlighting your latest experiences and showcasing your skills and accomplishments. In updating your LinkedIn profile, you must be very cautious; a complete makeover of the page could attract the attention of your current employer. 

You can turn on the option to make it known to recruiters that you are open to new opportunities, this is in fact not seen by people who work for your current company. Of course do not add the ‘Open to work’ badge to your LinkedIn profile. When you update your resume, use specific keywords and phrases related to the industry and role you are seeking to get noticed in searches, but avoid keyword stuffing.

Also avoid adopting an overused template for your resume and using fonts that are too small. The resume should have space for recruiters to take small written notes. Try to keep your resume to one page if you are a junior, two pages if you are a mid level manager, and a maximum of 3 pages if you are a senior level candidate. Don’t use too space in describing the jobs you have performed and focus on your significant achievements in each role. Add data and KPIs achieved if possible. Do not badmouth your previous employers in your resume or LinkedIn profile (nor in interviews).

Add to your resume a link to your personal page on OnlyTopTalent and see how many more interviews you can get! Do not add it to your LinkedIn profile, it would be too obvious you are looking for new opportunities.

6. Research and identify job opportunities

Use the major job search channels and tools available online such as LinkedIn and Indeed to find job opportunities that align with your skills, interests, and goals. Try to make smart use of the keywords and search filters provided by these platforms. 

Remember that searching on these channels takes up an average of 11 hours per week for candidates active in their own job search. The keywords used and the selection of opportunities is critical to avoid spending 20-30 hours per week on job search alone. Follow companies and recruiters in your desired industry and role, contact them directly to express your interest, and share your resume and LinkedIn profile. 

Don’t be afraid or fearful to contact recruiters, founders and headhunters, evaluating talent like yours is their job and if you don’t get a response or if you get rude responses don’t stop, you are actually getting invaluable information. remember also that these people are legally bound to confidentiality and cannot share your information with third parties.

7. Expand your network and clean up your socials

Your professional and personal network can be a valuable resource in your job search. Reach out to former colleagues, classmates, friends and family members and share your situation and goals (of course, only contact people you trust). 

Engage your LinkedIn network by posting, commenting, and sharing relevant content that demonstrates your knowledge and skills; however, avoid posting during normal business hours and avoid jumping too much to the eye of your current employer (e.g., don’t go from zero posts to 7 posts per week, instead gradually increase the number of posts you post over time).

Try to add at least 100 relevant LinkedIn contacts per week, but avoid unnecessary and sometimes harmful and counterproductive spamming. Clean up in your social profiles from content that might scare off possible employers on a first impression. I’m not asking you not to show who you are and your passions, I’m just saying that maybe that video of you playing Jessica Rabbit and dancing sinuously on top of a table might not be your greatest business card.


Finally, always remember that finding a new job should be an opportunity to pursue new career opportunities and make positive changes in your professional life and why not your personal life as well. Be positive, persevere and take advantage of all the resources and networks at your disposal. Don’t accept the first offer you receive if it doesn’t fully convince you, take time to make the right choice. 

You are in the privileged position of having a job and a salary, take the time to find the job that really fulfills your aspirations and ambitions, and before accepting look for information on sites like Glassdoor about the experience of other employees and contact past employees of the company on LinkedIn to better understand the company culture and to understand the motivations that convinced them to leave.

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