Resume/ How to Ask Not to Contact Current Employer

I’m looking for a new job. I would prefer that prospective employers not contact my current employer.

Straight up — I don’t want my current employer to know I’m looking. I would expect personal and work related reprisals. (I’ve seen this happen to others and it can be vicious.)

What is a good way of saying on an application or resume, this is why I prefer you do not contact my current employer?

I’ve never had a prospective employer contact a current employer without asking specific permission. Any employer with any degree of common sense knows that most employed applicants are in your position. If they are considering making you an offer and just want to check references, normally they will tell you that and ask if there is anyone specific (a trusted colleague, perhaps) they should contact.

My resume has a line near the top that says “submitted in confidence”

Part of the reason I ask is that I am applying to a large company with many different departments and many different positions I might be eligible for. They have an option to fill out an online “standing” application that I can submit for different jobs as they become available.

They asked specifically, “May we contact your current employer?” and, “If no, please explain.”

I’d rather not leave the section blank, but I don’t want to make a mistake by saying, “Because they’re a bunch of jerks!”

Submitted in confidence sounds really good for a resume, although, maybe I should just leave it out…?

Put “no” and in the explanation put in a contact at the company that can explain your work performance, duties and history there.

Frankly, nobody will bat an eye at this.

I’m not trying to be obtuse, and I do appreciate any input, but I should say no and then specify the person I don’t want them to talk to…?

What if I were to simply write, I do not wish my employer to know I am seeking other employment?

It sounds a little harsh to my ear, but so does saying no and then specifying who they would contact if I had said yes.

It’s not the same thing - if you say to have them contact your employer, they’re going to talk to HR and your superiors. What you’re doing is giving them a way to verify your employment without tipping off your company - by giving them a contact that they can use to do so.

Just approach one of your coworkers - it shouldn’t be an issue at all.

This sort of thing goes on all of the time, and there are no ethical problems with any of it.

How about “Please contact me before contacting my current employer”? I’ve done that before.

Thanks for clarifying. It’s a small enough company that I’m not sure that would work.

For now, I’m using, Please contact me before you contact my current employer.

A lot of applications have a yes/no box for “may we contact?” on previous employers; check no. As others have said, no one will think a thing about it. You should have other people lined up to serve as references, but it’s not a problem at all to state “I don’t want you to contact my current employer until an actual offer is pending.”

Standard stuff, not a red flag – most people who are currently employed keep a low profile about the fact that they’re looking.

SIXSwordS, you’ve got nothing to worry about – this is a very small deal with practically nothing riding on it.

Not contacting a current employer is very much the standard. Indicating that you don’t wish for your current employer to be contacted will not take you out of the running for a position, nor will it even raise an eyebrow. It will be understood by 99.99% of employers. It’s not something you have to tiptoe around.

The only reason employers even ask this question is because it sets their starting-off point in researching your employment history. No one’s out there saying “yeah … Person A is a lot more qualified, but Person B said we could call his current employer! Person B therefore gets the gig!”

Alternatively, you could indicate “no”, with the reason being “This resume is submitted in confidence”. That will more than suffice.

Thanks all. It’s been a while since I’ve been in this position and I’m more than a little apprehensive.

You will probably be asked if they can contact your employer after making an offer. It’s pretty common for an offer to be contingent on the reference check/employment verification. But by that time you have the new job lined up.

I can understand where SiXSwordS is coming from, though. My brother lost his second job when someone at the agency where he’d just taken a psych test for another job asked one of his poker mates whether Bro was as “can do” as the test pegged him… the poker mate happened to be the main lawyer for the company Bro worked at, and a minority owner.

Bro was NOT pleased. He grabbed the newspaper ad explicitly stating “discretion assured” in one hand, his lawyer in the other and banged the agency with the lawyer repeatedly.

Since they’re explicitly asking whether they can contact your current employer, say no and state that you don’t want them to know you’re looking at other opportunities. And when you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t ask explicitly, explicit it yourself.

Has anyone noticed that “This resume is submitted in confidence” is six words? Just sayin’…:wink:

I’m a little concerned about this too. I am in NO position to have no job. I’m worried that I will get to the point where I have to say, “Yes, you can talk to my employer.” only to miss out on the job anyway.

Of course, that concern highlights why I’m looking in the first place.

BTW — sandra_nz there may be six words, but are they Six’s Words?