First, you might ask – what in the world is a passive job seeker? According to an article on, a passive job seeker is one who “currently has a job but would be open to taking a better one.”

As we’re all painfully aware, many employers are now putting these dreaded words in their job postings – Unemployed Need Not Apply.

Why, you wonder, would that be? It appears counterintuitive. Those who are unemployed are the ones most likely to answer the posting.

The article does provide solid reasons for the employers’ thinking.

Passive Job Seekers are Resourceful

That is, they don’t wait until they’re unemployed before they begin to look for their next position. They do it while they still have a job.

In the article, Megan Pittsley-Fox, a career coach, had this to say. “They typically take their careers and jobs very seriously. They tend to find a new job before leaving their current one and/or they pay keen attention to what is going on in their own organization so they can find a new role if they smell layoffs coming.”

In other words, they’re proactive, rather than passive. A good thing to remember.

They’re Still Gaining Expertise in their Jobs and Industry

Employers are leery of candidates who have been out of the game for six months to a year, or longer. Skills weaken, knowledge becomes obsolete – especially in industries such as Information Technology. No one wants to hire an individual who isn’t up to speed on the latest software or trends.

That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that you keep your skills honed. Take courses, learn everything you can that’s happening in your industry. Volunteer for work that aligns with it. It’s something to put on your resume and shows the hiring manager that you’re doing all that you can to stay relevant even though you’re unemployed.

Sitting  on the couch, watching TV and collecting an unemployment check will not get you an interview.

What Else Can You Do if You’re a Long-Term Unemployed?

According to Pittsley-Fox, you can work with a professional resume writer. Someone who knows what hiring managers are looking for. “It’s important that your resume displays what you are currently doing with your time.”

Editors Note: Countless studies have shown that professionally-written resumes get more interviews. Compare Resume Writing and Resume Editing to see which of our services is right for you.

Use Social Media to Stay Informed About Your Industry

The article states that good sources are Flud, Delve or Quibb, which provide industry-specific news. Again, you want to prove to a hiring manager or a recruiter that you’re doing all that you can to keep learning, growing and being the employee that companies want.

Use LinkedIn to Make Connections

LinkedIn states that 30% – an impressive percentage – of their views for job posts come from passive job seekers. What’s more, nearly 1 in 5 of those who already have a job say they’ve been approached by a recruiter for a position they never applied for.  That’s truly passive job seeking. And it proves the importance of having a profile on LinkedIn. You never know who is going to review it. You never know how many positions are not being advertised. It’s the hidden job opportunities and contacts you’ve made throughout your career that you have to consider.

Long-Term Unemployment Doesn’t Have to Happen

Avoid it by:

  • Looking for a position while you still have your current job
  • Using LinkedIn to make yourself visible to hiring managers and recruiters
  • Staying on top of industry changes if you are laid off
  • Being proactive rather than passive

The unemployment rate for May 2013 was 7.6%. The odds that you’ll get a job are 92.4%. The numbers are on your side. Keep that in mind and get moving.

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