By Khalilah Starks

Actively searching for a job can be exhausting.  But, there are professionals that land outstanding opportunities that they didn’t even search for.  That’s right.  It’s possible to land a job without even looking for one.  These professionals are called passive job seekers.  They’re not actively looking for a job, but willing to consider a great opportunity that comes along.  So what can the active job seeker learn from the passive job seeker?  That in addition to the active things that you do in your job search such as actively applying to job openings, you can do a few simple things that will help your network help you find your next job.

Pay It Forward

Do something good for your network out of the kindness of your heart.  The key is to do this and not expect something in return.  Send a job to someone in your network that you discovered during your job search that wasn’t a fit for you, but may be a fit for them.  They’ll likely think of you the next time a great opportunity comes across their desk.   Ever heard of the saying, “Give and you shall receive”?  Networking is no exception.  Give a little, and you’ll get a little – maybe even a whole lot!

Promote What You Can Do

Tweet, blog, and use other social media forums to engage in dialogue that shows your expertise.  The more you promote what you can do, the more professionals will think of you when they hear of opportunities that may be a fit for you.  They’ll also be confident about recommending you because, by promoting what you can do, you’ve established credibility and expertise in your field.

Stay In Touch With Your Network

Networking is all about building relationships.  It’s not enough to just add someone as a connection to your LinkedIn account.  That’s a little too passive.  Invite a connection out for coffee or a cocktail.  Try to connect on a professional and personal level.  It doesn’t have to be completely about the business.  I’ve found that some of my best professional relationships have a personal component as well.  As they come across opportunities, you’ll likely be at the forefront of their minds.

Tell Your Network What You Need

So, this is probably the most aggressive of all.  But, closed mouths don’t get fed.  Don’t be shy.  Tell your network what you need and what you’re trying to accomplish.  Share your short and long term goals.  Some people love to help and pay it forward.  So, you always want to make sure that your needs and wants are always on their radar.  As they hear of opportunities, many will be eager to help.

Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Updated

First off, make sure that you’re LinkedIn profile is complete.  You want to make sure that your profile clearly summarizes what you do.  Take a few minutes to describe your job duties and accomplishments for each of the positions that you’ve held.  You never know who’s lurking around and looking at your profile!  And, be sure to update it as things change.  LinkedIn will send messages to your connections when you change jobs.  This is a great feature because you want your connections to be in the know about your career moves.  It helps you stay on their radar.

Be Sure Your Friends Know What You Do

This seems like a no brainer.  But, you’d be surprised how many friends and family members don’t have an understanding of what their respective friends and family members actually do for a living.  Perhaps your friends have somewhat of an idea of what you do for a living, but they should have a crystal clear idea.  Your closest friends can be your greatest advocates and connectors.  So, let them in on what you do for a living.  Instead of shooting the breeze on politics or the latest fashion trends, have a conversation about your current job and what you’d like to do in the future.  Your friend may be the one to turn you on to your next fabulous career opportunity!

Get To Know Recruiters in Your Industry

There are independent recruiters and recruitment agencies that specialize in just about every industry.  You should know a few and they should have an updated copy of your resume.  They may not be trying to fill a job that you qualify for today, but there’s always tomorrow.  As soon as a job that you could qualify for comes across their desk, you’ll be on their short list of candidates to pursue.  Again, it’s all about staying on their radar.