The Top 10 Tips for Passive Job Hunting on LinkedIn

I’ve had a number of conversations with people lately about how they can best be seen on LinkedIn but not be seen to be looking for a career move.

The reasons for this are countless but topping the list are a desire to keep their search confidential or to dip a toe as it were to see what might be out there.

Over the last couple of years LinkedIn has seen a surge in recruiters using it, an obvious observation given the site’s earnings and revenue sources. Gateway is one of those revenue sources, we’ve had tremendous success in recruiting those passive job seekers.

But if you’re one of those passive job seekers, what do you need to do in order to get seen? And let’s not confuse passive with inactive, to be passive means that you are looking for recruiters to approach you, not vice versa. How do you put yourself in that position to be approached?

1.      Make sure your profile is up to date, including your latest job, qualifications and even volunteer activities. This is an obvious one but for some less than obvious reasons. Not only will recruiters find it easier to find you but LinkedIn ads will too. LinkedIn recruitment ads are targeted by location and keyword, they are a fantastic resource for you if your profile is written accurately. If you’re seeing recruitment ads in your feed that don’t adequately reflect your experience then that poor targeting is your fault. Put it right.

2.      Make your profile achievement oriented. It shouldn’t read like a job description, nor should it read like a resume, try and strike that balance between the two.

3.      Include a photo. Yes, I know, employment legislation makes it illegal to ask for a photo but remember, it’s not a resume and 2015 research showed that images on LinkedIn get 98% more engagement than text only posts. Consider yourself a posting to be looked at and shared!

4.      You have a chance to sell yourself ever so subtly in a one liner below your name on your profile. Make it good. But not too obvious.

5.      Start growing your network by sending out invitations to connect to current and past colleagues, friends, team mates etc. I’ll guarantee that you won’t find a job in your immediate network, that’s why recruiters exist and why good ones exist, because they step outside their network to find clients and candidates, making friends with strangers. I’m not suggesting that you do that but set yourself a goal of maybe asking to connect with X number of new contacts a week. Once you do that then LinkedIn will suggest more connections because it will work out why you’re sending out that invitation in the first place.

6.      Don’t use the standard LinkedIn invitation, look like you put some thought into it. I don’t follow my own advice here but I only ever invite people who I’ve spoken to so for the most part they know the invitation is coming.

7.      At some point you’ll be out of obvious connections. If you’re sending out an invitation to Aunt Mary or to Uncle Harry who’s been retired for 12 years, it’s time to revisit the strategy. Look at those second level connections, is there anybody who works for a company that you want to work for or who has the job that you want? If so, ask your first level contact for an introduction, I heard a statistic that people were 28% more likely to accept invitations when a referral has been mentioned in the invitation. Don’t forget to ask the referral for their permission!

8.      Join Groups. Lots of them. You can even join job seeking groups but if you do then make sure that you have your privacy settings to not show what groups that you are a member of on your profile.

9.      On the subject of privacy settings, when you are looking at other profiles on LinkedIn be sure that the object of your attentions knows that you’re looking, unless of course you’re stalking an ex-girlfriend, in which case you should work on your Lavalife profile, not your LinkedIn profile.

10.  You don’t have to create content but it’s good to share and like other content…………like this article for example. Hint, hint. Seriously, you have to be seen to be alive and engaged on LinkedIn. If I see a potential hire with 3 contacts and zero activity I won’t waste an InMail, if I do and don’t get a response then it negatively impacts Gateway’s InMail statistics and LinkedIn does all that it can to ensure that the platform stays spam free.


Even if you’re not even passively job seeking this article will have value. It doesn’t hurt to be seen and if you do need to ramp up the effort then it’s a lot easier when you have already fine tuned your profile.