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How to find a job when you're not really looking

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Let’s start with a little recruitment industry secret – most employers would prefer to hire someone who isn’t looking for a job. That may not be much of a secret but it’s something people who aren’t looking for work often forget. 

Just because you’re not sick of your job or feeling underappreciated doesn’t mean there isn’t a better role out there for you. You don’t even have to look to find it, but there are a few things you can do.

Be really good at your current job

It sounds simple but it’s something many people forget whenever their minds start to wander towards the next move. Succeeding in your current role is most likely to earn you a promotion, or at least the opportunity to get promoted, but it could also lead to a new job somewhere else. In order to do that, your success needs to be visible outside the company – which leads us to the next point.

Update your LinkedIn profile regularly

Whether you are actively looking for a new job or not, you should make sure your LinkedIn profile is always up to date. That means more than just including every job title you’ve ever held or a photo taken in the last six months – add projects, publications and courses to add depth to your profile.  

It’s also important to do a regular audit of the skills you list and the phrasing you use when describing your experience. Recruiters use keyword searches to find candidates on social networks, make sure you include the most up to date terms and get rid of the ones that fall out of use.

Get active on social media

More and more employers are expanding to other social networks to uncover the talent that isn’t obvious on LinkedIn. If you are really passionate about your job or your industry, make sure that shines through on the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Post articles you agree with (or vehemently disagree with) and talk about your passion – attitude is a huge factor in hiring decisions so the more you can demonstrate yours, the better.

It’s also important to consider the ‘networking’ side of social networking – you never know who you’ll meet on social media, especially if you’re posting about your industry. Speaking of networking…

Go to events and talk to strangers

Networking is still one of the best ways to find a new job, especially if you’re not actively looking for one. Networking isn’t really about going to events to meet someone who’s likely to hire you the following week – it’s about making connections that will become valuable in the future. Talk to people, make industry contacts and make sure that they understand what you do and what you have to offer as a potential hire.

Most employers will look to internal promotions or their contacts network long before they ever advertise an open role or engage a recruiter – if you make the right connection you could jump two steps up the ladder.

Open your mind

When you’re in the middle of your career it’s easy to develop tunnel vision over a particular project or long-term goal. You spend all of your time focusing on the next project without ever stopping to think about what you want for your career. That’s exactly when great opportunities pass you by.

You don’t need to change much, just do the odd bit of work on your LinkedIn, tweet about that cool app you found that helps you be more productive and go to a few events. More than that, the next time you hear about a new job, don’t ignore it or pass it on to a friend who’s looking for work – think ‘why don’t I want that job?’

Do some job hunting without ‘looking’

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