Conducting a Proactive Job Search


finger pointing to word proactiveOver 70% of roles available in the market are not advertised at all and conducting a proactive job search is the way to uncover these. Trawling online job boards and applying for roles is simply being reactive. People who conduct a proactive job search are able to take control of their job search and create more opportunities for themselves. This way you are more likely to get the job that you choose rather than a job that happened to be advertised.

Your proactive job search

The challenges faced when reacting to advertised vacancies include:

  • It only gives you access to 30 percent of vacancies in the market
  • Employers and recruiters receive potentially hundreds of applications per role, so you are up against lots of competition
  • You are relying on the right opportunity for you to be advertised in the place you just happen to be looking
  • It can be hard to find an exact match to your experience – you end up having to shape your experience around what they are asking for
  • If you are applying for too many roles where you’re experience isn’t relevant with the same recruiter, a recruiter may ‘blacklist’ you
  • It is very easy to get lost amongst the applications
  • Sometimes recruiters will only advertise the roles as a last resort – they may already have a high number of the candidates they need to fill their shortlist

There are two ways to reach the hidden market of jobs: making it easy for recruiters to find you, and being more proactive.  Successful proactive candidates that we support do both using a range of different techniques. They will plan and target their job search, having a clear idea of what they want to do, what industry they want to work in and who their target employers are.

 Making it easy for employers to find you

  • Post your CV on the Web – upload your CV on job boards and create a website or virtual CV to make yourself visible (try
  • Get your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and ensure it has detailed information containing key words that recruiters will be looking for
  • Network with both your professional and personal contacts to ensure they know you are looking for an opportunity

Being more proactive

  • Make speculative approaches to target organisations, identifying someone in the right department to contact
  • Keep up to date with industry and business news for articles about organisations where they are growing, have won new projects or are relocating
  • Attend networking events, conferences and job fairs to expand your network
  • Join and use relevant professional interest groups on LinkedIn
  • Identify and build relationships with new recruiters

Although the majority of your activity should be focused around the proactive techniques above, you still need to react to what you see advertised, as they are often concrete leads to opportunities. This can still be done in a proactive way.

Making the ‘reactive’ ‘proactive’

  • Telephone the recruiter that is advertising a job you want to apply for
  • Build strong relationships and stay in touch with recruiters
  • Follow up your applications if you do not get a response
  • Do not rely on email alerts – actively search the job boards yourself daily
  • Search a wide range of job boards

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email

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