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5 Tips to Move your Job Search Strategy From Passive to ACTIVE

What does it take to build momentum, maintain motivation and develop more opportunities during your job search? 

An active approach!

Many job seekers keep themselves very busy searching for opportunities. They spend hours a day searching through job boards, responding to ads, customizing their resume and writing cover letters. Some may even fuss over their LinkedIn profile and look for job postings on the platform.  Unfortunately, all of this activity can be very time-consuming and not very productive. This is what we call a passive approach to job hunting.

Portrait of a young business lady sitting in cafe working on a t

But, there is another way. Here are 5 ways you can move your job search strategy from passive to ACTIVE.

1. Check Your Attitude

The passive job seeker’s attitude is that of a victim; powerless and perhaps blaming others for their situation.  They may be seen as inflexible and defensive. Active job seekers have an attitude that demonstrates openness, enthusiasm and motivation. Knowing that they are in the driver’s seat, they take full control and accountability for their search. While they graciously seek out and accept help, advice and feedback from others, they do not expect others to do the work for them. 

2. Broaden Your Scope

The passive job seeker does not spend time researching industries to develop a broad target list and limits conversations to people they know well from their most recent company or industry. Although the active job seeker has taken time to clarify their targets and is very focused, they remain open to looking at a variety of industries and seek out unfamiliar organizations.  They have a target list and actively seek to talk to people in those companies, even when the company is not currently hiring. 

3. Use Multiple Methods, but Emphasize Networking

Passive job seekers over-rely on search professionals and other people to “let me know if you hear of anything”.  On LinkedIn, they only worry about their profile and use the site as another job board. Conversely, active job seekers spend 80% of their dedicated job search time on networking and have a networking strategy that emphasizes reciprocity and consistent follow-up.  They create and follow a plan for using agencies or search firms, answer ads and Internet postings, while also making time for self-care to keep their energy and spirits high.  Their use of LinkedIn focuses on building and leveraging connections and booking face-to-face meetings. 

4. Put in the Time

Active job seekers treat the search like their new job, putting in 30 to 40 hours per week on dedicated job search activities.  Just like when they are at work, they have a schedule, routines and short and long-term goals.  They limit their time on the Internet and spend more time on networking activities.

5. Build Resilience

Recognizing that landing a job can take up to 6 months (longer for very specialized or executive roles), the active job seeker has learned to pace themselves and depersonalize rejection.  Unfortunately, rejection is part of the process and not every HR professional or recruiter will provide timely follow-up, if any!  The active job seeker focuses on things they can control and continues their efforts full throttle, even when they are close to a possible job offer.

Linkedin logo sign printed on paper

Simple Steps That Will Help Build your Connections on LinkedIn

For the past eight years, I’ve been helping people that are going through career transition with their LinkedIn strategy, and I always assign the same homework after their Profile has been updated: start connecting with people!  Your network is your key to everything in businessincluding finding your new role.

Linking entities. Network, networking, social media, internet co

What clients taught me early on was to assign this homework in the form of a dare. To many, connecting with others on social media seems like a daunting assignment. So daring, or even double-dog daring people to engage in this business handshake provides the motivation they need. However, even if the motivation is enough to get you started, what do you do next?  Who are you going to connect with, especially when you’re feeling a little tentative about the ‘whole social media thing’?  Which people do you want to reach out to, especially if you’re still feeling raw from exiting your last job? 

Here is what I would like to suggest to those of you who no longer have access to your workplace Outlook contacts. I’m going to dare you to data mine your existing contacts on LinkedIn. There’s no need to try recalling names from memory and this is a great way to ease into networking meetings with people you know and like. Keep in mind, this advice is based on the latest LinkedIn interface.  Don’t blink or it might change again!

  • From the LinkedIn navigation bar, pick My Network – Connections.
  • Click on the name of a person you worked with (this doesn’t have to be recent). After their Profile pops up, look for their number of connections.  This is a link. Go ahead and click on the number. Now you should see some people with label next to their name that reads ‘2nd’. These are your 2nd level connections.  In a nutshell, this means that you are not connected to them directly but instead, through another connection you currently have. Now is the time to connect – that social media business handshake that I mentioned earlier. You will likely recognize some of these people labeled 2nd.  People you’ve worked with, done business with, etc.
  • Click on their Connect link and you’ll see a template: Invite “name goes here” to connect on LinkedIn.
  • Complete the entry for how you know each other. This can be as simple as “Hi Fran:  I was taking a few minutes to update my LinkedIn contacts and spotted your name.  Would you like to connect?” Naturally, if you know this person well, you’ll craft a suitably personal note.

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part. You’ll do this daily for a week while treating yourself to your favourite cuppa tea, café corretto, glass of wine or beer – time of day permitting! 

Give this a try.  How many connections did you start with?  How many connections do you have after a week – or whatever term of time you picked?

I dare you…no, I double-dog dare you to share your results!