Archive for June, 2012

Search Strategies for the Passive Job Seeker

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

If you are a passive job seeker, you face a significant challenge: you can’t tell everyone that you are looking, at least not officially. After all, you don’t want to compromise your current job, in case the wrong person hears about your plans.

So what is a passive job seeker to do?

Whether you are a passive or active job seeker, the #1 tool to finding a new job is networking. But in this case, you can’t exactly head on out to the local job search group and toss out a newly minted elevator pitch. Because someone will say to you: “I thought you had a job?” And word will quickly spread back to your company.

So here are some quick and easy ways to get your passive job search underway and to position yourself for that final push when you begin the transition process to active searching:

1. Expand your network: A strong professional network is critical! And it doesn’t have to be, and really shouldn’t be, just about finding a job. Join LinkedIn and expand your network there. Explore connections with old friends and colleagues. Keep in touch with your college alumni association (including their social media portals). Add this information to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Keep connected with everyone you can for as long as you can.

2. Make sure your résumé is top-notch: In a competitive job environment, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your résumé is accurate and that its content is as strong as possible. And you’ll need to make sure it’s up-to-date so you won’t have to throw something together quickly when a new, interesting opportunity does arise.

3. Research companies on the Web: If you know of companies whose products or services appeal to you, learn more about these companies at their websites. Doing this kind of research has never been easier, since many companies make entire product lines, strategic plans, annual reports, and lists of personnel available online. Being well-informed will be important if you get an interview with any organization and will also help you confidentially uncover hiring managers and other key professionals who might potentially be a source of new job or networking opportunities.

4. Identify your target companies and begin following them on Twitter. Create a list on Twitter of great companies in your city and add them to it. Assuming they are not competitors of your current company, try to build a relationship through re-tweets and friendly @replies.

5. Stop ignoring Facebook as a job search tool. A job search is about all relationships…personal and professional. You never know where your next job lead will come from. Embrace the gray area and blur the lines. A friend is just as likely to introduce you to a great connection as a business colleague. Use tools like BranchOut and BeKnown to optimize your chances of finding key people via the Facebook platform.

6. Learn something new. What’s trending in your industry? Which of your skills are rusty? What gaps are there between your skills and the needs of your industry? Gaining education doesn’t have to be expensive and doesn’t necessarily require a formal education. Read industry publications, follow the blogs of industry thought leaders, or make an investment in a class or degree program if you think it is warranted.

7. Join a professional association. Many job opportunities are shared through professional associations. Why post a job to thousands of strangers when you can go to your internal colleagues and advisors and quickly source the best candidates? Being involved in a professional association helps you become part of the inner circle in your professional community.

8. Make your skills and abilities known to a wider audience. Create a blog and discuss important trends in your industry. Show off your knowledge in trade publications, make presentations at trade shows and seminars, and otherwise contribute to open forums where companies will be looking for talent. Then companies will come looking for you.

9. Be active in your network. You never want people to think you only network to get something (a job) and the rest of the time contribute nothing. Provide recommendations for other professionals on LinkedIn and act as a reference. When others ask for assistance finding a job, be open to helping them when you are able. Contribute to discussions. Be an active member of the community rather than just a leech looking for free help. Give and you will receive.

10. Hire a career coach or call a recruiter. When you can’t market yourself, the next best thing is to get someone else to do it, confidentially, on your behalf.