Job Search Tips

How to get a job without applying for it

Written by Eric Titner

What could be better than getting a new job with minimal effort on your part? Yes, it sounds impossible, but you can land a great new job without ever having to apply for it. Sure, the typical path to the next job in your career journey often requires some hard work and dedicated job hunting—searching out open positions that fit your skill set and requirements, leveraging your network to uncover opportunities, carefully crafting targeted cover letters and resumes, diligently completing applications and sending out emails, interviewing, following up, and waiting—and most of us have gone through this process several times. However, there is an alternate path, and it’s usually a much more direct and easier one to your next job.

According to a recent Business Insider article, those who possess an array of valuable and marketable skills that their respective industries prize will have companies and recruiters seeking them out, regardless of whether or not they’re seeking a new job. It pays to at least be open minded when this happens: “In today’s economic environment, people with valuable skills in leadership roles are likely to be receiving more and more calls from recruiters. You never know if the opportunity that will be presented will be more attractive than your current role. And, you can gain a boost of 15 percent or more in your compensation by being willing to make a change, likely far outpacing the raise you can expect in your current role.”

It’s true—even if you’re not looking for a new job, with the right mix of experience and skills you just might be a passive job candidate—an attribute prized by recruiters—without even knowing it.

According to Business Insider, recruiters seek out people who are open to new opportunities but not actively seeking them. The logic is that if someone is a talented candidate and is currently unemployed or is actively seeking out a job while currently employed, there might be some sort of issue. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s an assumption recruiters can often make. On the other hand, even if there isn’t an issue, chances are that the well-qualified person is applying to many companies at once. Recruiters don’t want to waste time courting someone who can easily decide to take an offer from another company.

However, if recruiters seek out candidates who aren’t actively looking, those risk elements disappear.

It’s clear that being a passive candidate can open up a world of new professional opportunities to you. So how can you become one? Business Insider offers up some ideas about how you can do to help subtly set yourself up as a passive candidate in your field.

Recognize and build key skills.

The key to becoming a prized passive candidate is to possess the skills in your field that companies are eager to have on their teams. Learn what skills leaders in your industry possess and what companies are looking for, and then make sure your skill set fits the bill.

Join appropriate professional organizations.

Most professions have industry recognized associations and organizations, and it’s in your best interest to become a member of as many as possible. Not only will it help you build your network and provide an array of social opportunities, it can also get you on the radars of recruiters when they’re looking to source talent. Make an effort to get involved and attend events whenever possible.

Don’t neglect social media.

The truth is, many recruiters scour social media when on the hunt for passive candidates. They’re looking for industry leaders, mavericks, and disrupters whose social media pages reflect their passion, dedication, and accomplishments. If you want to be viewed as a viable passive candidate, make sure your social media brands you as a serious professional with plenty to offer potential employers.

Join LinkedIn groups.

Building on the two previous tips, make sure you take full advantage of professional groups on LinkedIn. It is among the most widely used sites by recruiters looking for passive candidates, and for many of them, their first stop just might be looking at members of professional groups in their respective fields. If you’re not using LinkedIn to its fullest potential, you just might be doing yourself and your career a disservice.  

Keep your certifications, skills, and awards up to date.

This advice is not only good for growth in your current job, it’ll help impress and attract recruiters. The more distinctions and honors you have under your belt, the more desirable you’ll be.

Here’s the bottom line—if you want to have a future where potential jobs come looking for you, and not vice versa, you should work to set yourself up as a valuable passive candidate. Use the strategies and advice provided here and you’ll be on your way to making future job hunts much easier!

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About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.

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