When you truly enjoy your job you can do some of your best work. In fact, a sense of fulfillment can be so integral to your overall happiness that we recommend routinely gauging your job satisfaction throughout your career. One way to do this is through passive job hunting, which means that even if you’re not actively looking or applying, you’re open to learning about opportunities (which in turn, can help you to reflect on your current role and employer).
Read on to learn how passive job hunting can help you carve out your best career path.
The grass isn’t always greener
When you are easily consumed by the day-to-day of your work, it can be hard to discern what you enjoy about your job, what you don’t like, and what you can’t live without.
A helpful way to maintain perspective is to keep exploring what else is out there, and here are a few strategies to get you started:
- Sign up for job alerts. Automating the job-search process when you’re not really looking—by signing up for job-search alerts on Idealist.org—can help you keep an eye on vacancies and organizations that are hiring, all from the convenience of your inbox. This will help you to stay current on what's out there as well as what skills and experience is valued in your field.
- Make time for networking. Networking is an invaluable way to survey opportunities and explore professional growth. If you’re not comfortable with in-person networking at larger events and conferences, consider asking a co-worker or friend to join you, working to refine your digital networking skills, or enrolling in a class at a nearby university or adult learning center.
- Keep your LinkedIn profile current. Managing your professional social networking profiles can help you track new skills and accomplishments. Updating your profile with key terms related to your specialty, field, or interests can also help others in your network, hiring managers, or recruiters find and contact you for professional opportunities, networking, speaking engagements, and the like.
- Push yourself to continue developing professionally. Use what you learn from passive job hunting and networking to strengthen the skills you already have or want, whether it’s management, leadership, or public speaking, by creating goals and deadlines and actively charting progress.
These simple actions can help you discover opportunities in your focus area and make connections which could lead to introductions to mentors as well as new interests.
And sticking with professional development while making time to casually consider the possibility of a change may also help you realize you’re happy exactly where you are—or push you to consider what would be necessary if you wanted to turn that passive search into an active one.
You may find yourself reevaluating career priorities
You’re bound to have a bad day here and there, but keeping your eye on potential opportunities can help you decipher whether you’re simply encountering an off day, or if your career priorities may be starting to shift.
If browsing a job listings or chatting with a friend about her new job leaves you wondering whether there’s a better match for your career, consider asking yourself these questions about your current role:
- When was the last time I felt challenged at work?
- What do I find most rewarding in my daily work life?
- How have I pursued professional development in the last year?
- Do I see growth potential in my current role?
- How can I make sure that I continue to progress at my organization?
Then imagine how you might answer these questions if you held one of the positions you’ve been browsing on Idealist.org. If you find it more exciting and potentially more rewarding to consider your prospects in a new role, or if it’s difficult to come up with answers for your current position, that could mean you’re ready for a change.
A passive job hunt can easily become an active one
The great thing about a passive job hunt is that it can easily become an active one. Work these habits into your routine to transform casual browsing into a focused job search.
- Keep a list of organizations that pique your interest.
- Make an effort to stay connected with new contacts.
- Maintain an updated resume.
- Set up job alerts on Idealist.org.
- Sign up to receive newsletters from organizations you’re interested in. For example, if you’re a communications pro, read up on the latest from Big Duck, Wired Impact, and Nonprofit Tech For Good.
By keeping up with all of the above, you’ll always be ready to switch gears, turning your passive job search into a full-fledged hunt.
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About the Author | Yoona Wagener is a freelance writer and WordPress developer who believes in the value of nonlinear career paths. She has experience in academic publishing, teaching English abroad, serving up customer support to software end users, writing online help documentation, and mission-driven nonprofit marketing and communications.