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I've worked for this company for 5 years. For the first 3.5 years I was recruited for, and worked with, a team doing "Technology X" which is well established at the company and in the industry.

For the last 1.5 years I've moved/been moved to working with "Technology Y". The move was driven by the company wanting to explore the uses of Y as an internal 'research and development' project which then became a full time endeavour and appears promising for the future of the company, although this is all "under wraps" at the moment. I had some experience with Y already through personal side-projects although Y was new to this particular company.

Now for various reasons (not really important why) I'm ready to move on. I want to pursue Y as a career direction as I have a real passion and aptitude for it and it's "the future" in a lot of companies and has many opportunities.

The problem is...

  1. No one external to the company knows we are doing Y, and it would be game-changing for our competitors (for example) to find out that we are working on using Y.
  2. Companies seeking a 'Y developer' are obviously looking for someone with experience doing Y, but if I can't talk about my work at the current company I can only use my personal side projects experience which is valuable but probably not enough to get a job on the basis of it.

I haven't signed a specific NDA about Y, but there is a general contract term about keeping information confidential and conflict of interest and so on.

There are a couple of similar questions (such as this one) on here I came across but they aren't a duplicate, as the ones I could find would be answered by (something like) "talk in general about your use of Y without going into specific details of the company's projects" which wouldn't work here.

As an analogy let's say Technology X is about "two factor authentication for bank accounts using passwords, SMS, automated phone calls etc" and Technology Y is about "an AI image recognition system that will use the phone camera to scan the iris of the user to authenticate them to their account". Another example... Amazon's "deliveries by drone" before this was public knowledge, if I wanted to move on to drone-based technology at an unrelated company who are already using drones for their business purposes.

In short - if a CV with "My company" and "Technology Y" appeared to recruiters, job boards etc it would be easy for the 'competition'/industry to pick up on what we are doing which we definitely can't have.

I'm asking... "whether there's a way", and if so "how to go about it", of achieving my goal of moving to a company that is doing Y already and being recruited as a Y developer, presumably without talking about my experience with Y in my current company or letting the "cat out of the bag" in any way. (Eta: in the CV/resume itself, and then in the subsequent interviews etc)

I've considered waiting until Y is officially launched so isn't "secret" any more, but I don't have any way to know when that might be - could be 6 months from now, a year or 2 years or even more!

  • I suspect the people involved with Amazon's "deliveries by drone" were subject to some heavy NDAs which may be my company's mistake here... although this question would apply to the people who worked on that, presumably! – Secret Squirrel Feb 28 at 20:57
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    You need a lawyer who will go over with your existing contract. Then you can verify things like Am I violating my contract if I say something like "we are using Y in our current project, but my contract term doesn't allow me to disclose detail" in some interviews? This can be really tricky, but I believe requesting some general questions on Y during interview without disclosing what you are currently doing should be your safest bet. – tweray Feb 28 at 21:03
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One option is to describe rather than name the company in your resume. Something like

Technology Y Developer - Company Confidential (Fortune 100 eCommerce Site)

Using Technology Y to do awesome things

Now, if you have a bunch of social media accounts tied to your real name that list your current employer, it may be easy enough for someone with your resume to connect the dots. You may need to scrub your online presence to remove those references or to separate your online identity from the name on your resume. And you have to be careful about describing the company in a way that isn't obvious (i.e. Fortune 100 Software Company in Redmond, WA is pretty easy to guess).

You can also be careful about the distribution of your resume. Rather than posting it on a job board, it would be safer to do things like applying directly to a company (ideally not a competitor of X that would benefit if they discovered your current employer).

  • Actually there isn't anything online linking my real name to my employer (for other reasons) e.g. my LinkedIn already says - and always has - "Banking Industry" rather than the specific bank and location, so there's nothing to 'undo' in that sense. Do you think the information about "which specific company" could still be needed when talking with a specific recruiter or in an interview though? as I could hardly say in an in-person interview "when I worked at Generic Fortune 100 Company I did a, b and c" etc.. – Secret Squirrel Feb 28 at 21:33
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    @SecretSquirrel - Sure you can. It will likely involve a bit more skepticism and require you to do a bit more convincing that you're describing a real company not making something up, but you can certainly say "at a large investment bank" rather than "at Bank of North Elbonia". – Justin Cave Feb 28 at 22:18

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