Cover Letter: Shhh! My Job Search Is Confidential

If you're looking for a new job and you're currently employed, you may not want your boss to know about your job search. In that case, think about using your cover letter to request that your potential employer keep your job application a secret.

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How to Ask for Confidentiality in a Cover Letter

Most hiring employers understand and respect a job seeker's need for confidentiality. There are, however, no guarantees that an employer will be discreet on your behalf. If you're concerned about maintaining your job hunt privacy, you could insert a sentence in your cover letter that requests that your present employer not be notified. For example:

For reasons of confidentiality, I would appreciate it if you did not contact my current employer until you and I have spoken in person.


Take a look at how Tim Crestwood requested discretion in his letter: Cover Letter for a Director of Operations. In his last paragraph, Tim directly asks the employer not to disclose his job search. Here's what he wrote:

I would like to sit down for a private conversation with you. Please email me if you would like to meet next week. Until then, I ask that you keep this application confidential. Thank you.


The Anonymous Cover Letter

But sometimes asking someone not to spill the beans doesn't work. Without knowing how it happened, you could find your boss steaming mad, all because he found out you're pounding the streets looking for a job. Here are some ways word of your job hunt could leak to the wrong people:

  • Gossip travels fast in close-knit industries and professions. The news of your job search might get to your current boss through his professional grapevine.
  • If you're responding to a job announcement that does not give the name of the employer, you could find yourself unknowingly soliciting a job from your current employer. Oops! Cat's out of the bag!

Check out Alex Beckenridge's cover letter (Cover Letter for Golf Course Turf Management) in which he uses two techniques to keep his job search discreet:

  1. Alex explains his need to apply anonymously for the job.
  2. Quotes around his "name" acknowledge that it is not his real name.

Here's the paragraph where he does that:

Because our industry is a small one, it's likely that we have mutual business associates. So as not to jeopardize my current position, I am submitting my resume under a pseudonym and have generalized employer "names."


Susan Ireland, Resume Author