Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor

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Guide for Passive Job Searches

A passive job search can be a very useful tool. There are many advantages to using passive job searches. They are free or very inexpensive. You don't have to spend a lot of time and gas going all over town. They are often successful. And they don't require a whole lot of initiative. You can look for work without working at it.

There are, however, some major disadvantages to passive job searches. For openers, the employer is in control of the whole process. He decides when, where and which jobs to advertise. Your application will be routed to the Human Resource Office, whose job it is to look after the best interests of the employer, not you. That's not a dig against Human Resources. They are doing what they are paid to do and looking after the people who pay them. But the point is the only person looking after your best interests is YOU.

Second, you are fighting some pretty serious odds. The average ad or posting may draw 50 applicants or more. There is only one job. That means there will be 49 unhappy people. Can you take being rejected that many times without going into a deep funk? And even if you are tough enough to do this, why would you want to?

Finally, there is no human element to the process. It is designed to be automated to provide the greatest result to the advertiser with the least amount of effort and manpower cost on his part. This is fine for the advertiser but I would rather deal with human beings. If I am hired, I will be working with people. I want that to be a pleasant experience for everybody. Besides, my marketing background has taught me that machines don't spend money; people do. How can I learn whether I will be happy and effective working with the people from an automated system?

This is why I strongly recommend you combine your passive search activities with your active NETWORKING activities. Everybody has heard the old expression "It's not what you know, it's WHO you know". So get to know some people. The most recent survey figures available show that about 60% of people found their jobs through networking. Only 40% found jobs through passive searches. But you may be part of that 40%. Use passive job searches but don't rely on them to do the whole job.

Using Passive Searches Effectively

The secret to using passive searches is to make them totally passive. The employer has automated his process. Why shouldn't you automate yours? Almost all major job sites allow you to create search agents which automatically scan job postings and send you only those which interest you. You can then decide which ones deserve a resume or application.

The "help wanted" ads have been a favorite source of job leads for many years. They have provided millions of people with rewarding jobs. But you have to know how to read them to determine whether a job is a prospect or not.

Beware of the word "opportunity". Advertisers often use this word to make people think they will make huge salaries. There is no salary or benefits. These are usually straight-commission jobs where you are considered an independent contractor. This means you are not covered by unemployment insurance if this does not work and you get to pay double the Social Security and Medicare tax of an employee. There are some tax advantages to being an independent contractor. But if you are looking for stability and security, beware of "opportunities".

If the ad states "send salary requirements" or "list salary history" do not send the information. Instead, in your cover letter write "I would be pleased to discuss my salary history during an interview. I am eager to learn more about your needs and how I can contribute to your organization." or "Many factors besides salary make me interested in your company. After I learn more about your needs, I will be better prepared to talk with you about compensation."

Avoid "Blind Box" ads. These are ads which require you to respond to a blind box at the newspaper. How do I know whether I am interested in a job when the employer won't even tell me his name? I am suspicious of employers who keep the hiring process secret. What are they hiding? Are they about to give the axe to a current employee but they don't want to do it until a replacement is on board? That sounds like a jovial work environment. Maybe this is some drug kingpin looking to expand his mob.

Maybe this isn't a job opening at all. These ads are sometimes placed by companies which sell career services to identify potential customers. Personnel agencies use them to build a large pool of candidates when they visit employers about job listings. Your odds of getting a job from one of these are 0.


Every state has an employment agency. This is a free service desigtned to help citizens get jobs. It is also designed to get people off welfare and  unemployment insurance. Business executives often have serious doubts about the quality of candidates from state agencies. They sometimes feel the purpose of the agency is to get unqualified clients on a payroll. That's why you won't find many executive positions listed with state agencies.

You will, however find several good possibilities. All government agencies must list jobs with the state agency. Many community agencies advertise there. And many companies have shaken the old image of the state agency and actively recruit there.


The Internet is thick with sites advertising jobs. You don't want to spend the rest of your life posting jobs to the Internet. Focus your efforts on the sites which will give you the best results in the shortest time. Here are some resources to get you started:

The best way to search through the newspaper is to create a Careerbuilder search agent. Careerbuilder allows you to search the newspaper classified employment ads from newspapers across the country. This is very helpful if you are looking for a job in another town.Click the image to the left. While you are there, check out the
Resource Center. It has a lot of good information about careers.

This link goes to every state employment agency in the country. Don't forget to set up several job search agents. Check out
America's Career Infonet  for great advice and resources.

Claims to have the largest collection of job boards on the web. Find international, regional and job-specific job boards. Find links to local, state and federal government job boards. 

Ju-Ju is not a Job Board, but rather a meta job search engine dedicated to employment. It searches the top 250 American, 60 British and 110 English and French Canadian and job boards in parallel and in real time. The one click will save you hours of searching through the job boards and career fairs individually. 

This should get you off to a flying start on passive job searches. Remember that this is only part of your total employment strategy. The most important part is making active contacts with your community. This is where most people find jobs. click
HERE to begin the active phase of your trip to your dream job.