The ‘passive job seeker’, dry as the phrase is, is becoming increasingly more prevalent as an idea and a reality, especially among graduates and young professionals. Essentially what we’re talking about with our passive job seekers are the bright beans who think about their long-term career goals and the steps they need to take, or things they need to achieve, to get there. Far from hopping from job to job every few months in pursuit of greener pastures, these are switched-on and highly sought-after people who know their market and the people in it, and are ready to respond to the right opportunities – whether they are still at university, newly employed or have been in a great role for a comfortable couple of years or more…
So why should you join the ranks of the passive job seekers, and how do you start? At the most basic level, waiting until you’ve lost your job or returned from travelling the world to begin job-hunting from scratch isn’t the best idea. For a start, bringing a CV and all the associated documents up to date and starting to research all the opportunities available in your career area is a rather daunting and full-time job in itself – and it should go without saying that you will reach your target speed faster if you’re accelerating from a higher constant speed, rather than from zero.
To break you in, we’ve explained three important ways that you can start 'passively' to build your career profile – and how they link together to give you a formidable arsenal – whatever your current career situation.
1. Use social media
Social media is a great way to start connecting with people from the comfort of your own living room. Start gently by building up profiles on both a general site like LinkedIn (where you will be able to find most of the people you’ve ever connected with) and specialist sites like Bright Network (where our exclusivity and the fact we only work with the brightest means you will get exposure to opportunities and events you can’t find elsewhere).
Make sure you fill out all the sections of your online profiles with as much relevant information as possible. There are several studies that suggest including an appropriate picture will make people more open to connecting with you as well. Update your profiles regularly – spending 10 minutes or so every other day to post an interesting and relevant article to your profile will show your interest and engagement in your sector. Of course, you can bring your Twitter in as well, but if you do this be careful to only tweet things you would be happy with an employer seeing. If you enjoy an angry spouting-off session on Twitter, it might be best to keep this stream separate.
To start connecting with people online, map out in your mind all the people you’ve ever connected with – go back as far as school if it’s appropriate, and think about your university friends and the clubs or societies you joined. If you’ve done any work experience, internships, summer jobs or been on a graduate programme, think about connecting with people you met there. You will realise you know more people than you think – and you never know whom they might know as well…
2. Get out and about
As good as a wide-ranging and relevant online network is, you still can’t beat getting out and about and meeting people in person as well. It’s a great way to get your face recognised and to meet people with expertise or contacts in your field (which could result in introductions – whether over the phone or over coffee). So what practical steps do you need to take to kick start this? Well, whatever area you’re currently working in, or looking to move into, you will be able to find something – but here are some Bright recommendations.
We run regular networking events at Bright, and our Bright Festival in September is the biggest. Open to all our undergraduate and graduate members, we will bring together a range of firms (including Accenture, BDO, Morgan Stanley, QuBit and Tesco), all looking to meet the best and brightest for internships, graduate programmes and more senior roles in their firm. Come along and get noticed!
Elsewhere, entrepreneurial types will find the range of networking events and presentations run by Adam Street Club a great resource – and it’s a fun place to hang out too. For intellectual and philosophical debates and presentations, the RSA and British Library are also worth exploring regularly.
3. Say hello to recruiters
Having a good, long-term relationship with a recruiter in your sector is one of the most beneficial ways of furthering your career. They will be able to keep you updated on new opportunities and changes across your sector, as well as being able to offer you first choice of the most suitable roles for you. Of course, recruiters are incentivised to help you move jobs, but here at Bright – as we’re a social network with consultants rather than a recruitment consultancy – we think about the longer term. We like to get to know our members and what you really want, so that when we get an opportunity that is a great fit for you, we know straight away to tell you about it and see what you think.
Of course, if you’re working full-time – whether you’re happy in your job or are looking to change – staying in touch with a recruiter can be a tad difficult, and the last thing you want is for your current employer to think you’re spending more time looking to move on than doing your job. However, if you make sure you are emailing recruiters outside office hours and from a personal email address, that will keep your research and information-gathering separate from your current work situation.
So there you have our tips for progressing your career through passive job-seeking – develop your network by connecting with relevant people, both online and offline. It won’t happen overnight, but building up your relationships with people in business while you’re not looking for a job will make it many times easier to take that next step when the time comes.
Next: How to Develop Your Network