Q. I have some questions about confidentiality in the job search process. How can I make sure that my current employer is not contacted? I really would prefer to have a job secured before I let me current employer know. Also, I have been listing my current position as ‘confidential,’ but I am afraid this may be hurting my chances.
A. I completely understand your concerns about privacy. Many of my clients find themselves in similar situations. While you can absolutely request that a potential employer not contact your current employer during the early stages of the job search process – this is a fairly standard practice – it is unlikely that you would have a firm offer prior to a job verification.
There are other steps you can take to help keep your job search confidential, including making your LinkedIn profile private or not listing your current employer's name on the resume or LinkedIn. However, each of those actions will come with a trade-off. For instance, not listing your current employer on your resume could lead readers to wonder why you can’t be more forthright (and, worse, wonder if you would, in the future, look for another job without telling them).
Ultimately, you will need to weigh the cost / benefit of different approaches and find the mix that is best for you. Discretion in the job search process is very smart, but trying to keep your current employer completely out of the loop could be more damaging than being up-front about your plans.