Career Planning

“P” is for “preparing” for a confidential job search

Written by Paulette Pommells

If you’ve taken my free assessment on how to figure out if a change of work environment or practice area is what you need, then you might be ready to conduct a confidential job search.

While many employers prefer to hire candidates who are gainfully employed, you don’t want your current employer to suspect that you are actively seeking another job. Here are three tips to avoid getting caught!

  1. Say It’s Confidential

In communicating with prospective employers or recruiters, mention that you are conducting a “confidential” job search. You can use a phrase such as “I am contacting you in confidence about this position” on your cover letter or in other correspondence. Keep in mind, however, that prospective employers are under no obligation to respect your wishes.

  1. Safeguard Your References…(and attire)?

Providing job references is also likely to be an issue. Even if you’ve told the prospective employer that your current firm/organization doesn’t know that you’re looking, you may still want to mention that you do not want them to contact your current employer for a reference until they are ready to extend a job offer (so as not to jeopardize your current position). In this situation, you will need to provide several references outside of your firm/organization who can speak to your credentials and expertise.

How you dress during your job search can also be tricky. If you work in a “casual” workplace, wearing “interview attire” to work can be a red flag that something is up. You may want to change into your more formal clothes before an interview (don’t change at work) — or schedule job interviews on a day when you’re not working.

  1. Don’t Be A Blind-Dater

Be careful when replying to blind advertisements (ones that do not provide a name for the prospective employer). More than one jobseeker has accidentally submitted a résumé to his or her current employer this way…yikes!

Like these tips? I’ve got more on…

  • How Not To Get Noticed On LinkedIn (including screen shots)
  • Other “Do’s” And “Don’ts” For A Confidential Job Search
  • Writing And Structuring Your Resignation Letter
  • What To Do If Your Current Employer Wants You To Stay

…so check out my latest guide, How To Look For A Job While You Still Have One, Then Leave Gracefully

About the author

Paulette Pommells

I am a certified coach with a creative approach to bring out the best of the 21st Century Lawyer! A 21st Century Lawyer myself, I was faced with a professional dilemma years ago: I had become a “successful” lawyer, and yet something didn't feel right. One day, I hired a career coach and realized how similar coaching is to the legal strategy process. I decided to share this breakthrough with every single lawyer. Today, Creative Choices™ is a sought-after technique by lawyers, law students and law firms when it comes to professional challenges of all kinds. You can learn more about this on my website or by emailing me at

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