Job Search Advice: Four Job Search Tips for the Passive Candidate

Job Search Tips: Preparing for Your Job Search

I just had a conversation with a friend who works in corporate HR and whom I greatly appreciate. She has been a recognized HR professional at her company up until this point, so she hasn’t given the idea of starting a job hunt any attention. After an absence of eight years, she is prepared to reenter the work market. Before we chatted, she spent some time on the blog and downloaded the copy of the resume template and cover letter template that I offer on the site. Even so, she wasn’t really sure yet where to begin.

Job Search Tips: Preparing for Your Job Search

I told my friend that the most important item to have when starting a job hunt is a strategy. I advise job searchers to start laying the groundwork well before they send out their resume or cover letter and begin a vigorous job hunt by attending events, following up with previous contacts, and getting their name out there in appropriate areas.

Update Your Profiles Before Your Job Search

Meaning: get your house in order.  Make sure you’ve added the new feature of skills and qualifications to your LinkedIn profile, cleaned up your Facebook Timeline, and added a professional headshot and pictures to your social networking and web sites.  Don’t have your Mom take the photo or crop the family portrait from 6 years ago.  Hire or persuade a professional photographer to take your picture in a professional and flattering way.

Share Industry-Related Content as Part of Your Job Search Strategy

You should already be reading about the latest trends and changes in your industry of choice.  It’s great for professional development, and don’t be shy to share that content with others.  Social media management tools like Hootsuite offer the ability to schedule content to multiple social networks allowing you to work during the day while still reaching thought leaders, industry thinkers, and hiring managers at the same time.

Important Job Search Advice: Guest Blog

If you are considering being in the job market and want to be seen and known for your experience and innovation, consider guest blogging.  You don’t have to have your own blog to make an impact.  Blogging matters so consider targeting your guest posts to a handful of influencers within your target marketplace.  Make sure this content is new and original, portrays the right message, and is published in the right places.  I happen to offer guest blogging opportunities although surprisingly, I don’t get many offers.

Passive Job Seeker, Speak Every Chance You Get!

My friend has over ten years of professional experience. The importance of building strategic relationships with hiring managers, influencers, and super connectors in the field is underscored by the fact that many job opportunities in the sector and position are brought about by job referrals. If your company was anything like the one I previously worked for, they would be quite reluctant to utilize my quotes or feature me in white papers, which would limit my exposure and opportunities to build my own brand. However, after speaking with my manager, I was able to speak at colleges and professional gatherings nearby with the intention of first using them as a recruiting tool while also giving me the chance to meet people and spread the word about my name.

From Passive Job Seeker to Active Job Seeker

Going from passive job seeker to active job seeker takes relationships, strategy, and a plan to build momentum as you move into a more aggressive job search.  Those with a solid strategy make the process look easy but behind the success lies months of planning, phone calls, networking events, and hustle.  Lots and lots of hustle.  How are you planning and preparing for your job search? 

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Anna says

    Why would a company be fearful or even hesitant to have an employee speak? Don’t they realize building their employees reputation and influence builds their own?

  2. Anna says

    Pssstt…you just said you don’t get many guest blog inquiries, but when I click on the link the first thing it says is “I get a lot of requests and inquiries about how folks can contribute guest posts to Blogging4Jobs.” ???

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Ha! I get a lot of spammy inquiries from people who are just into link building and not actual content and conversation. Thank you for the comment.

      My company was fearful that I was representing myself instead of the organization. I became a microcelebrity in their mind and a liability. That idea is changing but in late 2009 social media was still really new.



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