How to use passive job search

use passive job search

You can use passive job search to have employers looking for you even when you’re not actively searching positions vacant. And this has become the smartest trend in the digital age. But to understand passive search properly, we should first look at how it differs from the traditional method.

The traditional job search follows a fixed, always identical pattern: an employee searches for suitable job advertisements, sends out their  application documents and then hopes to go to a job interview).

That’s always been the case and that’s how it always will stay!? Of course not. Because, like so much in the modern world of work shaped by digitalization, job search is constantly changing. And so it comes to the fact that in the meantime a new variant has been added to the classic variant: the passive job search.You can find out what it is all about, what you can expect from it and how exactly the passive job search works in the first place – you can find out all this in the following article.

Definition: What is passive job search?

Passive job search is, in simple terms, the counter-draft to the traditional job search. Instead of actively approaching an employer by sending them your application documents, you take on a passive role and be found.

  • Classic job search: Employee takes to the employer
  • Passive job search: Employer takes a look at the employee

Or to put it another way: you are not looking for a job, but you will find the job.

Important to know: “Passive” does not mean that you can sit back as a job seeker and just have to wait for your dream employer to knock. This form of job search also requires a certain commitment.

The growing importance of passive job search

Whereas only a few years ago it was hard to think of employers targeting employees and offering them a job, passive job search is now becoming the norm.

This is due to several factors:

  • the advancing digitalization favors many possibilities of passive job search
  • Employers realize they can save time and money by passively finding a job

For more on point 1 of this short list, see the article below. At this point, we would like to deal with point 2 in a little more intensive lyerised.

The advantage of passive job search for employers

At first, the statement seems contradictory – after all, the employer (or the HR department) has to invest a lot of time in the search for suitable candidates and then take the initiative with a view to the first contact.

Nevertheless (or precisely because of this) passive job search is so interesting for companies. It ensures that personnel can search for promising employees much more consciously and are spared from a large flood of applicants. The targeted approach and the elimination of the sighting of dozens of application folders result in a high time saving – which in turn means that the company also saves money.

Advantages and disadvantages of passive job search for employees

Now we know why passive job search is so attractive for HR departments and employers. But what about the other side? What advantages (and disadvantages!) can you prepare yourself for as an applicant?

How does passive job search work?

Passive search does not follow fixed rules and regulations. Ultimately, only this is important:

They must attract the attention of companies or be visible to personnel. These options are available to you (among others):

The own network / “Vitamin B”

Whether it’s a network meeting, a nationwide industry conference, or a dinner with friends, whenever you have the opportunity, you should feel that you are open to career change.

Once your (professional and private) environment is informed of your intentions, it will more or less consciously keep your eyes and ears open and drop your name when it comes to finding capable professionals.

Practical tip: Always have a few business cards at hand that your contact can pass on to potential employers. This will keep your project in mind and the decision-makers will know the ways in which they can reach you.

Social media activities

Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are no longer just “places” of shallow entertainment. They are gradually transformed into a show of professional intentions and are also used accordingly.

Platforms that are particularly suitable for passive job search are the career networks Xing and LinkedIn. Business is in the foreground here and professional networking is part of the good tone here.

To maximise your chances of success, you should take full advantage of all the opportunities xing and LinkedIn offer you:

  • Create a complete CV
  • Create a meaningful portfolio with multiple work samples, work certificates, and other documents that underline your skills
  • Subliminally emphasize your interest in changing jobs with statements such as “Always looking for new career challenges”
  • Give as much information as possible about yourself (volunteering, certificates, foreign language skills, etc.)

Blogs and other web projects

The World Wide Web offers you endless space for private and professional self-expression. Use this to get a lot closer to your dream job!

For example, a blog is the ideal platform to underline your expertise in the field of XY. If you don’t have time to write regular articles for your industry, then there is also the possibility to appear only occasionally as a guest author on other blogs.

If you don’t like writing, but you still want to prove and show your skills on the Internet, then you can also put any other web project into action. Here are a few examples:

  • Podcast
  • Youtube channel
  • graphic works in the form of printables
  • Video game demo
  • Online Folio or website

Own website

These examples are too specific to you and you are looking for a more general way to go on passive job search? Then create a website that deals exclusively with your person and your previous professional successes.

Practical tip: In order to attract the attention of the searchers as quickly as possible, you should not leave the topic of search engine optimization out of sight. For example, use special search terms such as “IT expert from New York” to be found.

Special job portals

Not only the human resources departments of the companies have the passive job search on the screen, also corresponding portals offer their users the possibility to be found by the employer.

This simplest form of passive job search is, of course, extremely popular – and should not be seen as a panacea for this very reason. In order to stand out from the mass of competitors, you must be surprised with your applicant profile.

So not only emphasize what your strengths are, but also make it clear why you are unique. 

Non-profit pro bono work

Volunteering is not only good for your karma account, but can also have a positive impact on passive job search. For example, by working for a nonprofit without pay or by actively engaging in a particular area, you automatically make a name for yourself. These activities are not hidden from the HUMAN resources departments either.

Every passive job search measure presented here works for itself, of course, but can also be combined with others at will. It is important that you position yourself clearly and make it clear to the personnel what you can expect from you as an employee.

Supplement, not replacement!

Finally, a very important note for you: If you are planning to use the passive job search for a career change, then you must be aware that this is a supplement to the classic application process – but not a substitute!

Those who rely exclusively on passive job search should always be satisfied with their current work. If, on the other hand, you actively seek a job change, then you should also act actively and understand the possibilities of passive search as an addition.