Between sifting through job listings and trying to tailor your resume to each role you’re applying for, looking for a new position can feel like a job in and of itself.

If you find that you don’t have the spare time for an all-out job hunt, starting a passive job search might be a better approach. Or even if you’re content with your current position, a passive job hunt can help you stay on top of new career opportunities that could lead to your next dream job.

Launching a passive job search takes a bit of effort up front, but it’s easy to maintain. And you just may find some fantastic opportunities by working smarter, not harder.


You never know when a hiring manager will stumble on your LinkedIn profile, or when you’ll want to submit a resume ASAP for that perfect role. That’s why it’s important to regularly update your resume and profile information while the important details are still fresh in your mind.

Think of it this way: LinkedIn is essentially a giant search engine for finding candidates, so why wouldn’t you want your profile to reflect your latest and greatest achievements? Your LinkedIn page also offers a lot more space than a traditional resume, so go ahead and brag where appropriate. Take advantage of the recommendation feature to post complimentary reviews for some of your colleagues — and ask them to return the favor.

Also, refresh your LinkedIn headline (next to your name at the top of your profile) so that it matches what you want people to know about you. Many candidates use their current job title, but your title may not reflect what you actually do or where you want your career path to take you — for example, “Marketing Professional Known for Leading Fortune 500 Consumer Email Campaigns” is more descriptive than “Digital Marketing Manager.”

The final and most important step for your passive job search: Click the box that alerts recruiters to the fact that you’re open to job opportunities. No one who works at your company can see that you’re taking advantage of this feature, so your job searching secret is safe.

Refresh your LinkedIn headline so that it matches what you want people to know about you.


Speaking of recruiters, consider working with one (or more) to help do some searching for you. They'll want to chat with you about your career goals, job history and salary requirements before trying to match your skillset and objectives with their clients’ open positions. In addition, recruiters can often tell you exactly how much you can expect a job to pay before you walk into the interview, and they can help guide you through what could be a long process.


Many people understandably want to be discreet about even passive job searches. After all, you don’t want your current boss to find out through the grapevine that you’re considering other career options.

But it doesn't hurt to reach out to a few trusted colleagues and let them know that you’re thinking about making a change. This way, you’ll be top of mind for any job openings your associates may hear of and, if they think you’d be a good match, you’ll have the inside track to applying. Many positions are never even posted online, so it can really pay to nurture your network. Keep in mind that you should also add connections to your network regularly — especially if you’re considering changing careers.


While LinkedIn is practically synonymous with job searching, you can (and should) use other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep in touch with former colleagues or showcase your professional expertise. (Just make sure that your social media profiles paint a professional picture — you don’t want hiring managers to stumble on questionable photos or posts.)

Also, consider creating a portfolio website or blog that you can easily share on social media. This can be a great way to give your online presence a boost and establish your personal brand.


After you’ve set up your passive job search, you can sit back — but you can’t totally relax. Job opportunities can come knocking at any time; be ready to respond when someone contacts you. Staying prepared opens the door to exciting career possibilities you may never have anticipated. As a bonus, should you decide to move from passive to active job seeker, you’ll already be one up on the competition.

Recommended Reading