Which Type of Job Search Strategy Is More Effective? Active or Passive?

Which Type of Job Search Strategy Is More Effective? Active or Passive?

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Finding a new job can be difficult. You may not know where to begin and how to locate the best chances when there are so many options available. Should you approach things proactively, contacting people and applying for jobs directly? Is it more effective to adopt a more passive approach of putting your resume online and waiting for recruiters to discover you? Are you better off making yourself more visible by writing articles being interviewed for podcasts or YouTube, or speaking at conferences or local groups?

A proactive, multifaceted approach is essential for finding a job. You may stand out from the competition and win the ideal employment by combining passive strategies like enhancing your LinkedIn profile with active ones like networking and applying to posts. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both active and passive search.

Justification for a Continuous Job Search

When you approach your job search actively, you look for and apply to job openings that are open in your industry. Usually, this includes:

Looking for suitable positions on a regular basis by visiting corporate employment pages and job platforms such as Indeed and LinkedIn. 

Applying for jobs by sending in customized cover letters and resumes, then getting in touch with the employers afterward.

Enquiring about potential opportunities with staffing agencies and networking relationships at desired companies.

Connecting with hiring managers by going to recruiting events and job fairs, both in person and virtually. Every year, Q1 and Q2 see a boom in searches for “job fairs near me.”

requesting “coffee dates” and informational interviews in order to grow your professional network.

The key advantages of actively looking for work

Through direct engagement with multiple openings and people relationships, you throw a wide net. This raises the likelihood of discovering a firm that is hiring someone like you.

Hiring managers will see your initiative as a sign of drive and motivation. A motivated applicant may get noticed.

You have greater control over the process when you apply directly and follow up, as opposed to waiting passively.

Your network grows through networking and event attendance, which may open doors that internet apps alone may not. Statistics show that more than 80% of positions are filled as a result of networking.

With the US unemployment rate low, applying a focused strategy is important to securing positions in a competitive market.

Making the Most of Your Passive Job Search Approach

Rather than actively searching for jobs, a passive job search entails keeping up an online presence and waiting for chances to present themselves. This could involve:

Enhancing your LinkedIn profile to make it stand out in searches by adding pertinent keywords and an attractive About section. 

Interacting with content and postings on LinkedIn to grow your professional network.

Setting job alerts to receive notifications about pertinent new positions. Tailor alerts based on region, role type, industry, and more.

Keeping up-to-date profiles on other platforms like GitHub and your portfolio website to demonstrate your abilities.

Submitting your CV to candidate databases that recruiters search like Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter.

Developing your own content and opinion articles, posting them on LinkedIn, Medium and elsewhere and sharing them with thought leaders who start seeing you for your expertise

Passive searching has benefits:

Casting a wide net by presenting your materials to numerous recruiters at once.

Saves the time it would take to apply directly and inquire about openings.

It can introduce you to positions that aren’t listed on employment sites openly (the hidden job market).

Recruiters may reach out to you proactively regarding positions that align with your experience.

Particularly when they discover you based upon articles you’ve written, it is an effective way to be discovered and introduced for high-level positions where employers would rather have candidates approached in confidence.

Experts advise against relying just on passive searching. However, when paired with proactive measures like networking and interacting with recruiters, it can greatly increase your visibility.

Which is Better: Passive or Active?

In general, neither tactic is “better.” Aggressive strategies usually provide benefits more quickly. Passive strategies are effective over a career and not just when you need a job NOW. For example, according to a LinkedIn survey, only 36% of worldwide professionals are actively searching, despite the fact that 90% of them are open to new work options. This indicates that a sizable audience is open to the proper opportunity, should one arise.

Although both passive and active searching have advantages and disadvantages, experts generally agree that a balanced strategy works best. Make the most of your job search by:

Investing time every week following up, establishing connections with your network, and aggressively applying to positions. Don’t, however, ignore your online presence.

Ensure that pertinent keywords are optimized in both your LinkedIn profile and CV. These platforms are first searched by hiring managers and recruiters.

Create job alerts to receive notifications about intriguing new positions. However, don’t depend on alerts. Additionally, actively monitor job listings in your industry.

Participate in networking events and job fairs in your community. Once you’ve met someone, send them an email or use LinkedIn to follow up.

Request comments on your resume from contacts. Seeing things from a different angle might help your materials shine.

Utilize resources such as an applicant tracking system or spreadsheet to monitor the status of your applications. By doing this, it is ensured that follow-ups are not overlooked.

Make sure your cover letter and CV are unique for every application. Making them unique is essential to being noticed.

Have patience. Persistence is essential because the average US job search is taking much longer than most people expect it to take. Integrate proactive and reactive tactics to persevere during protracted job searches.


A dynamic search strategy that combines active and passive tactics is frequently the most effective in today’s job market. Maintaining an optimal online presence where opportunities can find you should be matched with actively seeking new openings, attending events, and engaging with your network.

Keep tabs on your progress and pursue leads that show promise. Even in a competitive employment market, you can land the ideal position with a focused effort and a combination of active and passive techniques.


People hire Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter to provide No BS Career Advice globally because he makes many things in peoples’ careersJeff Altman easier. Those things can involve job search, hiring more effectively, managing and leading better, career transition, as well as advice about resolving workplace issues. 

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2700 episodes. 

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You will find great info to help with your job search at my new site, ⁠⁠JobSearch.Community⁠⁠ Besides the video courses, books and guides, I answer questions from members daily about their job search. Leave job search questions and I will respond daily. Become an Insider+ member and you get everything you’d get as an Insider PLUS you can get me on Zoom calls to get questions answered. Become an Insider Premium member and we do individual and group coaching.

Also, subscribe to ⁠JobSearchTV.com⁠ on YouTube and No BS Job Search Advice Radio, the #1 podcast for job search with more than 2700 episodes over 12+ years.in Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music and almost anywhere you listen or watch podcasts.

You can also have your #jobsearchquestions answered Tuesdays at noon Eastern. Search for Career Coach Office Hours on LinkedIn and mark that you’re attending. You’ll have access to the recording if you miss it live. 

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