Dear Matt: I’m what they call a passive job seeker. I’m currently employed and open to hearing about new career opportunities, but am not actively seeking a new job. Do you have tips for someone like me?
Matt says: You are not alone. A new Accountemps survey found that 73 percent of professionals are comfortable looking for a new job while still employed. That same survey found that 48 percent of job seekers ages 18 to 34 admitted they are comfortable searching for a new job while at work.
Even if you are employed, it’s important to stay in touch with your professional contacts, keep on top of current technology and in tune with industry trends. You just never know when that new opportunity could come up, or worse, when a layoff could occur.
“Never stop networking, ” says Stacey Stratton, President of True Talent Group (www.truetalentgroup.com), a Twin Cities staffing firm that places marketing, creative and interactive talent. “I always say your network is your net worth. Even though you may be a passive job seeker, you never know when you might meet someone who could present an opportunity that is your dream job.”
That means staying active on LinkedIn, continuing to attend networking events and making sure you always track your successes for when you do have to update that résumé, says Joanne Meehl, president of Twin Cities-based Joanne Meehl Career Services (thejobsearchqueen.com).
“Always keep a career diary, a file on your computer or phone where you are tracking successes, new skills, wins and growth,” says Meehl. “This makes it easy to update your résumé — even on short notice.”
Use LinkedIn to your advantage. Don’t just update your profile — be active and engaging. Participate in and start discussions in your groups and focus on helping others in your field, says Meehl.
“Always keep your LinkedIn profile updated,” says Stratton. “This is your career version of Facebook. I check every candidate out on LinkedIn. What is your background? Where do you specialize? Who recommends you?”
Other steps you can take include meeting with a recruiter you trust who specializes in placements in your field. These professionals often hear of jobs that are not posted, and/or they have inside info to get you to the hiring manager. And since you have a job, focus on what you can do in this current role that can improve your value to your current employer — and your next employer.
“Build skills by taking a course or by exploring ways to get more engaged in your current role, ” says Stratton. “In the end it may make you even more valuable to your current employer, in addition to opening up future opportunities.”
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