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You Need Active AND Passive Job Searching

You might have seen experts quoted as saying you need to conduct an active job search, not a passive one. What does that mean for your specific situation?

Active vs. Passive Job Searching

An active job search means you’re making an effort to “put yourself out there.” You have an updated resume, a robust LinkedIn profile, and a support network. You research companies you’re interested in and try to arrange an “in” with them. Most important, you don’t sit and twiddle your thumbs while waiting for a phone call.

On the other hand, a passive job search normally involves a lot of waiting. For example, you search for job opportunities online through job aggregators such as Indeed.com and post your resume on selected job boards. Your resume and LinkedIn profile might or might not be current.

Is “Active vs. Passive” an Either-Or Job Search Method?

If you’re viewing job search as something you need to engage in right now, that calls for an active search–maybe a very active one! Slower methods probably won’t generate the momentum and responses you’re aiming for.

However, that’s not to say that some passive approaches wouldn’t prove useful as long as you’re not in “crisis mode.” In fact, they could represent a beneficial element of your job search plan. In some cases, you might want to start getting the word out but not be ready yet to go full-bore on the search.

In short, consider the value of a combination approach rather than a do-it-all-now search.

How to Plan for a Successful “Combo” Job Search

First–and this is extremely important–don’t wait until the last minute! As Benjamin Franklin once said, “You may delay, but time will not.” When opportunity knocks on your door, be ready for it.

In other words, plan a combination of “things I should do now” and “things I can do later.” The result might look something like this:

  • Keep your career-related materials current. Make a point of reviewing and adjusting them appropriately on a regular basis.
  • Stay in touch with key connections in your network occasionally, on a give-and-take basis.
  • Follow companies you might be interested in joining at some point and seek useful connections with people who work there.
  • Choose to share your resume online and in person–but do it selectively. That is, don’t plaster it all over the internet and don’t overload your network supporters with endless new versions.
  • Do an occasional online search to see what’s “out there” even when you’re not looking. It can help you get an idea of the demand for what you would want to offer if you were looking.

Taking this approach could help prevent the last-minute panic when someone contacts you with a great opportunity that requires a fast response. Likewise, it might uncover opportunities you had no idea lurked somewhere out of sight.

Even if you think you’re not looking for a new job, plan for it anyway. Who knows? You might wind up being very glad you did!

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