Is 2013 The Year of the Passive Job Seeker?

Economists are predicting that hiring will increase this year. IHS Global Insight shows that we expect to create 2.36 million American jobs in 2013, which is more than the 1.9 million in 2012. In addition, there is still a war for talent and a skills gap in the workforce. Companies are going to be stealing talent this year and using technology like LinkedIn in order to do so. According to CareerBuilder, nearly 20 percent of workers have been approached to work for another company in the last year without applying for a position. I’ve been noticing a trend of passive job searches in the past few years due to the rise in social media technologies bringing HR departments and workers together on the same plane.

Passive job seekers are those who aren’t actively looking for work but are open to new opportunities. Many of my friends have received emails and LinkedIn InMails from recruiters at top companies like Google and Deloitte. These companies would rather hire someone who is currently employed than an active job seeker. They feel that passive job seekers are more valuable because someone is already paying their salary and they are gaining experience. If you’re a passive job seeker, here are a few tips that will help you better manage your situation:

1. Don’t lose focus on your current job. It’s very easy to get distracted by new opportunities but you shouldn’t because then your performance will plummet and it will affect your ability to get a new job. You also want your employer to be a reference for you so don’t let them see you’re slacking. Instead, work hard, while setting time aside during your down time or when you get home to answer emails from recruiters.

2. Position yourself for the career your want. If you hate your job, now is the time to craft an online presence that focuses on the types of jobs you actually want. If you don’t change your online profiles to reflect your desired career, then you will keep getting the wrong opportunities and be stuck. In this way, the internet creates the “law of attraction” because your personal brand will filter the right opportunities for you.

3. Be strategic with when you schedule interviews. I recommend doing phone interviews during lunch offsite. It’s important that you remain as private as possible when doing interviews while you already have a job or you may lose your current job. If you’re having trouble scheduling interviews, you can also use one of your vacation days to do all of them at once.

4. Leverage opportunities to increase your salary. If you can get an offer from another company while you have a job, you can leverage it to get a salary increase at your current job. It will also help you understand your current value in the marketplace, which is always helpful. Remember that the cost of replacing talent at companies is very high so if you’re valued, they won’t want to let you go.

5. Be ready to interview. You never know when you’re going to get an email from a recruiter who saw your resume on a job board or on a social network. You want to always be ready for the standard questions as well as the unexpected ones. For example, they might ask “what are you learning in your current position that can be applied to this position we have open”? They could also ask you what your long term career objectives are.

Dan Schawbel

Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting firm. His new book, a New York Times best seller, is called Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin's Press) and his previous book, Me 2.0, was a #1 international bestseller.

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