With the current unemployment rate at 3.7% (https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000), you may be one of the millions of Americans who are happily employed and don’t consider themselves as job seekers. However, with that same economy driving the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the month of October alone (https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/ceshighlights.pdf), there are numerous new and exciting opportunities becoming available each day, making it one of the best times to explore the job market as a “passive job seeker.”
Being a passive job seeker simply means you remain focused on your current job while being open to hearing about other possibilities. And while you may not be quite ready to make a move, taking a call or responding to a message from a well-established, knowledgeable recruiter can be one of the best ways to keep a pulse on the market and make sure you keep your skill set aligned with the market.
However, before you start accepting every phone call or LinkedIn connection request, consider these best practices for approaching a passive job search:
Forge a Strong Relationship. Identify one or two recruiters that appear to have the right career opportunities or recruiting specialty to help you make a career move. It is imperative to not only research the recruiter but also the recruiting company. It is best to determine if the recruiting firm has a solid reputation for advancing careers for the type of role you desire. Once you have completed this research, start building the relationship with emails, calls and lunches so that your recruiter has a clear understanding of what you are seeking, not in just your next job and employer, but also make sure they understand how your next move fits into your overall career path.
Stay Updated. LinkedIn is a great way to keep your professional information current. It's not enough to simply list the companies you've worked for and the job titles you've held. Update your experience, your skills and your education with details. Recruiters find people by searching for keywords, so make sure your skills and experience accurately reflect your skill set. In addition, be sure you have proofread the information listed on your page. And even if you are not using your resume, keep it current. Updating and trying to think back on your experience to build a resume is time consuming when you are an active seeker trying to apply for a job. Be proactive and take the time to make updates and improve your resume now so it will be ready when the time comes.
Be Honest and Picky. Not surprisingly, the best time to look for a new job is when you already have one. But be clear and transparent with your recruiter about what you're looking for in terms of position, salary, location and length of assignment. Also, this is the time to be picky about what you would ideally be seeking with company culture, management style and growth potential. Being clear and transparent about the specifics of what are important and valuable to you as a passive job seeker will allow your recruiter to bring only the truly relevant and interesting opportunities.
At the end of the day, ramping up for an active job search can take a lot of time and energy. As a passive job seeker, you are simply staying ahead of the competition and giving yourself the edge by planning ahead in your career and being ready for whatever may come your way.a Director in our Interim Legal Talent Group. She provides interim and project-specific staffing solutions to address law firms and corporate legal department's workforce challenges.