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Undercover Job Quest

Dear Headhunter,
How do you go about finding a new job without letting your current employer know what you’re doing? Do you not list your current job on your resume? Is it OK to ask potential employers not to contact your current employer? If so, what kind of message does that send? I want to see what other opportunities are available to me, but I need to keep my current job if nothing works out. I’m in need of your guidance.

Sincerely, T.B.

Dear T.B.,
Your question relates to the most common fear when deciding to change jobs. The first rule of every job search is to protect what you have. You must guard your current employment at all costs. Here are your answers, point by point.

  1. How do I look confidentially?
    Your search requires planning. Try to arrange you interviews during lunch or off-hours. You may have to fake a medical appointment or a sick day. If needed take a vacation day. It’s important to maintain your workload so you may have to put in extra hours “to compensate” for your time off. Do not dress differently or rearrange your office space.
  2. Should I list my current company?
    Yes, always list your current employer and job title. The un-written code of conduct between companies is that all resume submissions are confidential. It is rare that submissions leak back to the current employer.
  3. Is it OK to ask for no contact with the current company?
    If your resume indicates you are currently employed, employers will not make contact without your permission. It is not necessary to request no contact. Up until you receive a job offer, all correspondence and interviews will be confidential. When you receive a written offer and accept, that’s when your current employer will be contacted to verify your employment and references. Offers are contingent upon positive verification. You will be asked to sign a release form prior to a background check or credit checks.

RECAP: Approach your search with confidence. Be sure not to tell anyone at work that you are looking, and I mean no one. Friends and co-workers are responsible for most leaks exposing someone looking for a new position. For more job search tips go to my web site www.dearheadhunter.com, and click on the Ten Commandments of a Job Search.


Is there a trend in hiring success by companies using job boards? The trend seems to be headed toward smaller specialized websites. A Source For Hire study revealed in 2001 20.5% of employers utilized the internet as a hiring source. A recent survey states the total is now 31.8%. Small specialized and dedicated websites account for 17.6% over 14.6% for the super sized websites. The advice is to seek out niche sites where the listings are dedicated to a discipline or industry you want. Diversity websites are in excellent place to list your resume especially if you are bilingual or bicultural.


CATEGORY: wireless / communications
FOCUS: a niche career, employment job board site for the Wireless and Mobile Internet industries. All disciplines from accounting to quality control.
ABOUT THEM: targeted recruitment site, accessible by web & wireless devices, serves an updated qualified base of candidates to top employers/recruiters and recruitment advertising agencies.
JOIN: free
SERVICES: e-newsletters, resume writing tips, career advice, resources/links to helpful job sites, employers can post jobs and search profiles/resumes; job seekers can post resumes, search jobs and receive interactive training.


School bells will soon quiet. Summer days smile in the near distance. For some vacations are already planned, but for many teens and college students it’s crunch time. Time to work for extra spending money, save for college, help with family expenses, buy their first car.

The National Consumers League (NCL) press release cautions that every 30 seconds a young worker is injured while working. A sadder statistic is that one teen dies from on the job injuries every five days. The NCL survey results are as follows:

5. Traveling youth crews, selling door to door, street corners
4. Driver/operator of forklifts, tractors, ATVs
3. Outside helper: landscaper, gardeners, lawn service
2. Construction, working in heights
1. Agriculture: fieldwork and processing

More examples and a detailed report on injuries are available at www.nclnet.org/childlabor. The same NCL webside has tips and advice for parents and teens on how to work safe and understand that jobs can be hazardous. The NCL was founded in 1899 and has been a pioneer and leader in promoting social and economic justice for workers. Their home page Web site is www.nclent.org

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.