Success Tips for Passive Job Seekers

How to effectively spend your time on a passive job search

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Even if you love your job and don't want to even think about looking for a new position, and even better, if you're lucky enough to have a job you don't want to quit, you should always be at least somewhat prepared to move on. 

That's because companies can behave in unexpected ways. Your employer may reorganize its structure or lay-off workers for financial reasons. Management can shift, and along with it, responsibilities for employees. From one day to the next, you could get a new boss who isn't as great to work for as your old supervisor. Or, your personal circumstances could change and you may need to seek new employment. There are also valid reasons that it can make sense to quit a job you love

So, even if you are happy with your current role, it's a good idea to engage in passive job search. Find out how to do so, along with discovering the difference between an active and passive job hunt. 

Active vs. Passive Job Searching

Active job search
This scenario occurs when someone currently needs a new job. Active job seekers post their resume on job boards and search and apply for jobs. In addition, job seekers who are actively seeking employment use LinkedIn, social networking sites, and apps to expedite their search for a new position.

Active job seekers also network, attend job fairs and industry events, and contact connections, friends, and relatives about potential job opportunities. An active job seeker may also contact a recruiting agency or send letters of interest to specific employers.

Passive job search
This situation occurs when someone who is currently employed is open to hearing about new career opportunities but does not actively seek out and apply to specific positions. Rather than searching and applying for jobs as an active job seeker does, a passive job seeker waits for employers to reach out with opportunities. 

Passive job seekers may (and should) keep their resume and LinkedIn profile up-to-date. They may also engage in casual networking with colleagues and friends at other companies and set up job alerts and accounts on job search websites. Even if you're not actively job searching, there are things you can do now to make your next job change easier.

Why It's Important to Be Prepared to Job Search

It's a good model to follow because you will be prepared to job hunt at any given moment. Your resume and social media presence will be up-to-date if you're engaged in a passive job search. Plus, you'll have a sense of the opportunities and salary available within your industry from alerts and casual browsing on job boards. If your circumstances change, your passive job search will be able to quickly and easily transform into a more active one. 

Top 10 Tips for Passive Job Seekers

Passive job seekers who invest a little time in staying job search ready will save a lot of time (and stress) getting up to speed when they need to job search. Here are tips for passive job seekers.

1. Be an Active LinkedIn User
Build a robust LinkedIn profile including education, experience, volunteering, skills, certifications, and associations, etc. Your LinkedIn Profile is the online version of your resume, so be sure to proofread it carefully.

Once your Profile is set, connect with everyone you know. The operative word is "know" - don't connect with random people because they aren't going to be in a position to help you.

Join relevant LinkedIn groups. There are job search groups, company groups, alumni groups, college groups, and networking groups. Groups are a good source for networking contacts, job search advice, and job listings. Since you're not actively job searching, set email notifications to a weekly digest so you aren't buried in messages.

2. Write Recommendations
Write LinkedIn recommendations for some of your connections. In return, you'll get a recommendation back from at least some of the people you provide a reference for. Those recommendations show on your Profile and are a visible reference for potential employers.

3. Tap Into Social Networking
Don't stop with LinkedIn. Facebook is a personal networking site, but can also be helpful for keeping in touch with former colleagues. Set up Twitter and Google+ accounts as well to expand your base of connections. 

Here's how to use social networking for career purposes:

The stronger your social presence, the more likely you are to be tapped by companies using social recruiting to find candidates for employment.

4. Build a Career Network
You don't have to spend a lot of time networking, but do take the time to add connections to your network on a regular basis. The bigger your network, the more opportunities you'll have when you're job searching. 

5. Stay Connected to Your Network
Don't build a network and forget about it. It's important for your connections to know you are there. Post status updates on Facebook, tweet now and then, and post interesting links to your social networking pages. If you have a blog that's appropriate for professional connections to read, feed it to your social networking pages. That way your pages will be current without you having to do much work.

Once a week, email or send a LinkedIn or Facebook message to a few connections to ask how they are doing. Staying in touch reminds your connections of who you are and shows that you care about how they are doing. If you're interested and engaged, your contacts will be more likely to give you help if and when you need it. With the connections you are friendly enough to meet in-person, have a cup of coffee or lunch once in a while.

6. Check Out Companies
Do you have a company you would love to work for if the perfect job came along? Have a list of target companies ready and check out the company website every once in a while to read the latest news and see what jobs are available.

7. Check Job Listings 
Once a week spend a few minutes using a job search engine to run a few job searches using your skills, job title, and/or the location where you would like to work. You'll see, at a glance, a list of open jobs that match your background.

8. Update Your Resume
Have an updated resume ready to go. Each time you change jobs or your educational status changes, update your resume. This way, you'll always have a current copy of your resume to use, if need be. Write a cover letter draft for a job that is a close match to your expertise. You'll have a template ready to customize when you are ready to apply for jobs.

9. Be Interview Ready
Don't use up all your accrued vacation or personal leave time unless you have to. Keep some in reserve, so you have time to interview if an opportunity that's too good to pass up comes along. Have an interview outfit ready to go so you don't have to scramble to find something to wear at the last minute. Also, have a list of employment references ready. Some companies require references along with a resume and cover letter as part of the application process.

10. Start Over
Every few weeks go through these steps to make sure that your passive job search techniques are working. Is your LinkedIn networking growing? Are you remembering to reach out to your connections? Do you have a sense of what jobs you qualify for and what jobs are available? On a related note, are your skills and certifications current so you're qualified for positions of interest? Are you ready to interview if you get an invitation from an employer?

The more prepared you are to job search, in advance, the easier it will be to start a job hunt and find a new job fast if you need to.