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Passive Job Search: Five Easy Steps in Less Than an Hour

finger pointing at a search bar that says what is a passive job search

Like every professional recruiter, I’ve heard it countless times when calling someone about a job: “I’m happy where I am,” or “I’m not on the market.” 

There’s no doubt the goal is to be happy and satisfied in your job (we’re here to help achieve career zen, after all) – but ask yourself the following:

  • Do you look forward to going to work?
  • What if you could earn significantly more money?
  • Are you currently unable to work remotely but would like to?
  • Are you passionate about your company’s mission? 
  • Can you imagine having a better manager, coworkers, and (or) company culture?

And, most importantly: Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all?

Simon Sinek said, “Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start.” Your elusive dream job will remain just that – a dream – until you decide to take action.  

But here’s the great news: You can start a passive job search without much effort, and in less than an hour. Too good to be true? Not at all. Remember, this is 2023, when technology has enabled efficiencies across nearly every aspect of our lives, which includes the job search process. Before we go forward, let’s go a couple of steps backward to define exactly what we’re talking about.

Passive job searching is a way for those who are currently employed to stay up to date with new openings. The primary purpose of a passive search is to create a process that lets you hear about great and potentially life-changing career opportunities you would otherwise miss. A key to this process is its ability to continuously work behind the scenes without requiring much, if any, user involvement.

Any time someone who is unemployed and in need of a job asks for my advice, I always tell them to treat the search effort as if it IS their job. I recommend they wake up early, shower, get dressed for the day, and spend the next eight hours applying to openings, making calls, and sending emails. An active job search, when done right, involves significant time and effort for as long as it takes to achieve the desired outcome. A passive job search, however, is essentially the polar opposite when it comes to day-to-day involvement. Passive job seekers don’t do the work associated with an active job search – instead, they let tools, technology, and recruiters do the work on their behalf.

Passive job search steps to take immediately

As the title indicates, your passive search can be underway in less than an hour with these five steps. When you’re ready to begin, pull out your stopwatch and…just kidding. What I mean is, grab your iPhone, swipe down, hit the timer app, and get started!

Step 1: Sign up for job alerts

Time commitment: <1 minute

Effort level: Extremely low

There is no need for you to spend unnecessary time or effort seeking your next great career opportunity. We’ve partnered with ZipRecruiter to bring you the best and hottest jobs…and it takes less than a minute to subscribe.

Start by going to our open jobs feed, then search for your ideal job title and location. All you have to do from there is enter your email address and click submit in the pink and purple box to your right! Now, the latest job openings will be delivered to your inbox daily.

Browse at your leisure while kicking back at night or over coffee in the morning. With more than 9 million openings available at any given time, there’s a great chance the perfect job is out there waiting to find you. 

Step 2: Update your resume

Time commitment: 15 – 30 minutes 

Effort level: Medium

While it’s possible to land your dream gig without one, a resume nearly always serves as a requirement to get the ball rolling. I know you aren’t necessarily looking for a new job, so you don’t need a current resume….but what if someone with an amazing job opportunity comes looking for you?

Whitney Young put it best when he said, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” It’s worth noting there are many reasons to maintain a current resume besides searching for a new job. One of those is career networking, which leads us to step 3.

Need help writing your resume? Browse our sample resumes by formats, experience, and situations, or utilize professional resume writing services like BeamJobs to ensure you stand out from the other job seekers.

Step 3: Create (or enhance) your profile on LinkedIn. 

Time commitment: 5-10 minutes

Effort level: Low

Once your resume is current, it only takes a few minutes to add information and optimize your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is THE social network for business, where you can connect, engage with, and learn from professionals around the globe. It is also a platform that allows everyone to search for a job publicly without raising eyebrows or suspicion about where they currently work.

Finally, LinkedIn is a job board where recruiters live – all day, every day as they seek candidates who are not only qualified but also passive. Once your profile is updated, the recruiters will come to you.

Side note for those who may be unaware: most hiring managers prefer passive candidates currently employed elsewhere. I’ll save the logic and reasoning behind this for a different article, but justified or not, it’s a nearly universal truth. 

Step 4: Post your resume on the top job boards

Time commitment: 5 minutes per site

Effort level: Very low

With your resume updated and looking good, take just a bit more time to post it on a few job boards. In addition to LinkedIn, these websites are the go-to resource for recruiters, hiring managers, and HR professionals when seeking highly-qualified, experienced professionals for high-paying jobs. 

There are countless niche sites, but passive job seekers with limited time can create significant exposure by posting on just a few top sites. We recommend ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and Monster for convenience and maximum coverage. 

Step 5: Stick your toe in the freelance waters

Time commitment: 5-10 minutes per site

Effort level: low

Contributing an estimated $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy, the freelance or gig economy is already big and only getting bigger. 

Many staffing and recruiting professionals (including me) consider freelancing the real future of work, and why shouldn’t it be? Unlike the traditional employee-employer relationship, those on both the hiring and talent side of a freelance relationship can work as they mutually choose – free from restrictive government policies or negative workplace cultures. Freelancers make more money and have greater flexibility with the hours they work. 

While a commitment to full-time freelancing isn’t for everyone, posting your resume on top sites like Upwork, Toptal, and Fiverr will grant you access to opportunities from around the globe. These jobs are often part-time, allowing you to explore a new and potentially better way to work without committing to a full-time position. Many freelance roles work well for side gigs, too, so take a few minutes to build a profile and let these opportunities come to you.

OK…stop the timer!

Always be prepared

You never know when you unexpectantly find yourself unemployed, so it is vital to prepare for the unknown by doing these 5 simple steps! Hopefully, you powered through each and now have a variety of new avenues for increased exposure and an excellent chance to find your ideal way to work. 

When opportunity knocks, you’ll be ready to greet it head on!!