Stealth is the path to follow!
If you are currently working, Don’t let anyone know you’re even thinking about making a change if you don’t want it to get back to your boss! That means anyone and everyone, your best friends, your most trusted confidants, your potential references, everyone! Even those you trust the most can make a slip of the tongue. After the word gets out you’ve totally lost control.
If you want to utilize LinkedIn, be very careful. For starters, DO NOT connect with anyone on LinkedIn who is in HR, job search consulting (like me), recruiting, career planning, resume writing, etc. Because when you get connected, LinkedIn publishes that fact for everyone to see on your page and your connection’s page and on the page of everyone you are connected to!
Instead of connecting to people and businesses who you would like to have help you, email them privately and ask them to be discreet! For instance, my email address is prominently displayed on my profile just for people like you. LinkedIn has no idea you are emailing me.
Do clean up your social media act. Hiring authorities will check you out. It’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Be conservative. Delete everything that could potentially hurt your chances of getting an interview. Language, pictures, biases, anything at all that might make a company think twice about hiring you or even interviewing you could hurt your chances. With ‘squeaky-clean’ candidates available to them, why should they take a chance on you? They don’t need people who have an alcohol or addiction problem or joke about it. They don’t need people whose language may upset others in their workplace. They do need people who are stable, reliable and productive.
Do create a strong LinkedIn profile, one that simply represents you in a desirable way without indicating you are seeking a new job. Use LinkedIn as a research and connections resource to identify people in companies you may be interested in. But don’t ask for a job; you’re objective should be to offer help to others and seek information about the companies and hiring managers.
If you want to post something on a LinkedIn jobs group, do so, just Don’t say you’re searching. People who can help will read your profile, see that you’re currently working and simply try to connect with you. That way you have an opportunity to look at their profile and decide to connect or not. You are in control at that point.
In the end, if your boss finds out you are looking, it could hurt you or help you, but which would it be? Are you sure you know? If you’re certain it will help if he/she knows, ignore everything I’ve said and go tell him/her your intentions! I’ll wait for your call for help if you need it.