Britons work longer hours than our European neighbours and we are told that looking for a new job is a full-time job in itself. But when do you have the time to look when you are spending over 40 hours a week at work, running errands and fulfilling family and social commitments in addition to stealing some time to sleep? The answer is: you do it at work.

However, you don’t want your current employer to know that you are looking elsewhere because if they find out, you could jeopardise both your current position and future references.

Here is our advice on keeping your job search a secret from your employer.

Email and internet: A recent survey found that 64 per cent of jobseekers have been caught by their boss searching the web for a new job. So don’t use your company email address on any job applications – most organisations have policies permitting them to monitor employee email activity. So, create a personal email account specifically for your job search, and access it from home or via a smartphone like a Blackberry or iPhone.

Don’t blindly go gung-ho copying and pasting your CV on every job board you find without first considering that your current employer may be using the web to search for new candidates – the last thing you want is for your boss to find your details. Make sure that you post it onto job boards such as Monster or TheLadders.co.uk that allow you to keep your employer and contact information confidential. You can also block your name, contact details and current employers name on your CV. Many of thse job boards also allows you to prohibit current and previous employers from finding your CV on the database search.

Be discreet: If you typically wear jeans to work but suddenly start dressing in a suit, questions will soon be asked. Don’t advertise the fact that you are looking for another job. Arrange interviews before or after normal business hours as much as possible. But, if it’s unavoidable then schedule them during lunchtimes or arrange annual leave for a day and schedule multiple interviews on one day.

Get your timing right: Lunchtimes, unsurprisingly, are the most common times for job seekers to be scanning the job ads. It is also the best time to return unanswered phone calls on your mobile to prospective employers. Visit an internet café or library to access your emails and search the job boards. Or if you have a laptop, find a coffee shop with wireless connection.

Play it safe: Avoid using the office fax machine, computer and telephones. It may be convenient but it is also risky – it’s too easy to accidentally leave a copy of your CV on the photocopier.

Never stop giving 100 per cent: You have resolved to find yourself a new job, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot by making colleagues and your boss suspicious if you start slacking. If you don’t land another job then you have to stay where you are for a while longer and you could be putting your existing position under threat.

Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

Paul MacKenzie Cummins

CareerMatters was founded in 2006 by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins MICG (Member Institute of Careers Guidance), regarded as one of the UK’s leading career’s advice and guidance writers and specialist PR consultant for the UK recruitment industry.

Since 2006 Paul has been the leading advice writer for Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com – the two biggest careers websites in the world – tackling all aspects of workplace and management issues, job seeking, career change and hiring trends.