Passive job search isn’t always a bad thing. If you are happily employed, it is good career management to remain open to opportunities. Your dream employer may have a job opening in your field. A former boss, one of your favorites, may call with an opportunity to work together again. A recruiter might call with a job that offers a title bump, more pay, or an interesting challenge. Staying open-minded but not actively looking is passive job search.
Okay, so you’re convinced that it’s worthwhile to stay open-minded. Now, how can these opportunities find you? Passive job search means that you’re not looking for opportunities, but the jobs are coming to you. Here are three strategies to ensure that you hear about good job opportunities when they arise:
1 – Keep your marketing updated.
Update your resume – it’s a good way to check up on your career. Complete your LinkedIn profile – that’s how many recruiters find their candidates. Set a Google Alert on your name so you can monitor your online presence, and see what others see about you. Build these habits into your regular routine so you are Do these basic maintenance chores now while you are ready in case an unexpected meeting is called.
2 – Keep in touch.
Send a holiday mailing – this is a fun way to get your contacts organized and to reconnect with people you may have lost touch with. Set a reminder to contact personal supporters at least once a year – this includes people who would be your references, mentors, and supporters from past positions. Return recruiter phone calls – when you’re passively looking, recruiters are actively looking. If you want to hear about job opportunities, especially the more senior you get and the more confidential the roles are, you need to have recruiter relationships.
3 – Keep your profile in the public eye.
In addition to the network that already knows you, how would a stranger find you? Updating your marketing will help, but you also want your profile out there in the public eye. This way, if a great opportunity opens up and a recruiter puts you forward, the hiring company would recognize you. Get published in an industry trade journal. Present at a conference – even moderating a panel distinguishes you from simply attending. Depending on your industry and role, a personal website which curates your knowledge and includes samples of your work could be useful.
Passive job search still requires some effort, especially if you have let your marketing, branding, and networking lapse. However, by taking some time now, while you’re gainfully employed and not anxious about your next paycheck or your next move, you can position yourself so you don’t miss that next big opportunity. You will naturally be in touch with the market and able to pounce on job leads according to your interest and timetable. That is the ultimately job security.
Of course, there is a key prerequisite to taking advantage of unexpected opportunities that arise from a passive job search: you need to recognize great opportunities. Do you know what would make you leave? Do you know what you need in your next role to keep you on the career path you desire? Do you have an ideal professional challenge in mind? Knowing what you want ensures you jump for the right reasons and not just for a bright, shiny diversion.