An active job seeker is somebody who is taking an active role in the job seeking process, and putting in personal effort and attention in order to find a new job. Passive interest, on the other hand, describes somebody who while interested in getting a job is not doing anything to actually get one besides waiting for opportunities to arrive. A passive job seeker could also be somebody who has a job, but would be open to new opportunities if those came calling but won’t actively research other positions or send CVs to get a more suitable job.

Does Passive Interest Hurt You?

If you are in need for a new job, waiting until a suitable opportunity comes knocking is most likely going to hurt your chances. In a very competitive market environment, the candidate that puts more effort into getting a new position is often the one who gets it. It’s not only actively looking that will land you your dream job: you need to show to a prospective employer that you are eager to work for them or your passive interest may be confused with lack of interest or apathy, which aren’t very sought-after traits on potential employees.

If you are already employed but still considering a move to greener pastures, passive interest is something most recruiters will see as an undesirable but very common option. It may force them to make the extra effort convincing you that the new position they are recruiting for is perfect for you, or may just send them looking for an easier candidate. As with many other things, wanting a new job is as important as showing that you want that new job: being coy or shy can be easily confused with “uninterested but too polite to say so” by a busy recruiter.

How To Look Like An Active Job Seeker

The key to impressing potential employers and recruiting agents is showing that you are fully engaged with the job seeking process and taking an active role on it. An active job seeker looks for new jobs through various means, from job agencies to old-style newspapers or the more and more popular option of online job sites. Once a job is found, the job seeker would send an application, with a CV that shows how suitable they are for the job, and endeavour to attend a possible interview.

A pro-active job seeker will:

  • Actively look for jobs online and offline;
  • Network with agencies and people they know, informing them of the fact that they are looking for a new job;
  • Keep an up to date, professional CV ready;
  • Prepare for interviews to increase their chances of success;
  • Keep applying for jobs even while waiting for feedback from other applications;

However, the signs of passive interest job seeking are the total opposite:

  • Only apply to jobs when you are pointed to them;
  • Passive networking: telling people you are unemployed, but not making any attempt at showing that you actually want a new job;
  • Going to interviews unprepared or arriving late;
  • Waiting for results from an application instead of applying for more jobs, just in case;

Now, if you were an employer, which of the two above profiles would catch your interest as a prospective new hire? Even if you are depressed or feel unsure about your skills due to being unemployed, active job seeking is the best way to actually getting out of unemployment and back in the workforce. Even if it takes effort, it will pay off.

If you look like you only have a passive interest in finding a new job you may be missing out on suitable job opportunities that will go to a more engaged candidate. Also, if you are in receipt of unemployment benefits you may have eligibility issues, as often regulations mean you need to be actively looking for work and taking measures to ensure your job seeking success.

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