If you’re happily employed at an awesome company—congrats! With a solid routine and a steady paycheck, you probably skim over advice about resumes, cover letters, and interviews with a sigh of relief, thinking, I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about that anymore!
And that’s certainly true. But what if, while you’re contently working away, the perfect position at your dream company becomes available? Well, you’re going to miss it—because you’re not actively seeking out new job opportunities.
Does that mean you should spend every evening scouring job boards for the next big thing in your career? Of course not. But, to be able to pounce on a perfect opportunity the minute it comes up, you have to keep your eyes open.
To make sure your dream job doesn’t pass you by, try these four tips to keep up with the market—even if you’re not actually looking for a new job.
1. Get Updates Via Social Media
Checking your social media accounts is probably already part of your daily routine. So here’s an easy tip: Follow your dream companies on Facebook and Twitter. Companies often post new and immediate job openings via social media updates—so if you allow their tweets, statuses, and pins in your feed, you’ll be one of the first to know about a new open position.
If you see an update about a position you’re not interested in, you can easily skim over it—no harm done. But, if it catches your eye, you can dig in, research a little more, and if it seems like the perfect fit, apply.
2. Keep up With Industry News
Ideally, you should already be doing this to stay informed about your field of choice. But if you haven’t made it a habit yet, get started by choosing a news aggregator (try Flipboard, Zite, or Pulse) and start following relevant industry journals and online news. Make sure to pick out a few of your favorite companies (the ones you’d leave your job in an instant to work for) and follow their blogs, too.
When you make time to browse through these articles every day, you’ll be helping yourself succeed in your current position (by becoming an expert in your field)—and you’ll also be the first to know when a significant change happens or an exciting opportunity becomes available.
For example, when a business announces that its COO has decided to pursue another venture and is taking a few team members with him, that can serve as a clue that a few new positions might be opening up. Or, a company may decide that it’s going to hold an exclusive media strategy contest to determine who will be its next intern. If you’re following these stories, you’ll immediately be aware of these types of opportunities and have the chance to pursue them further.
3. Set Alerts
When you’re relaxing at home after a hard day at work, you’re probably going to want to browse Pinterest, not job boards. So, skip the searching entirely and make new opportunities come directly to you—in the form of easily-skimmable emails.
Some companies—specifically ones that use an online applicant tracking system—have ways to set alerts for new positions that become available. So, for example, if you’ve always thought Method would be an awesome place to work, set up a profile on its careers page. You’ll specify the type of job you’re interested in and get an email alert every time a relevant position becomes available.
On a wider scale, you can set Google alerts to send you an email when something of interest pops up in search results. Once you specify a set of key words (like “Warby Parker,” “marketing,” and “job”), Google will send you an email when there are new results pertaining to those parameters. Read: As soon as Warby Parker posts a job for a VP of Marketing, you’ll be the first to know.
4. Get—and Stay—on the Radar
In the perfect world, you wouldn’t have to job search at all. If your dream company decided to hire a new sales associate, the hiring manager would completely forego the job ad and contact you directly to see if you were interested.
Sound far-fetched? Actually, this can—and does—happen, if you’re willing to put in the effort by actively making and maintaining connections with potential employers. I know—you already have a job, so you shouldn’t have to endure the awkwardness of networking anymore. But if you continue to make it priority even while you’re happily employed, you’ll open yourself up to new relationships and future opportunities.
An easy way to do this is to regularly pursue informational interviews and one-on-one networking meetings. You don’t have to mention that you’re looking out for future opportunities—just focus on forging a connection and staying on the company’s radar. Then, when a hiring need arises down the road, your contact will be much more likely to think, “Alice Jones once mentioned that she was interested in eventually pursing a sales career—I bet she’d be perfect for this position.”
Job hunting isn’t exactly fun, so it’s completely understandable that once you’re employed, you don’t want any part of it. But—there’s no harm in keeping your eyes and options open. Stay up to date with the market, and something amazing may fall right into your lap.