*A cross post from Firm Advice.
Companies love to recruit "passive candidates," people who are not actively looking for a job, but are open to hearing about the right opportunity. Often they are people already doing the same job at a similar or competing company.
So how, you might ask, does one become a "passive candidate"? Is it really possible to look for a job without looking? Absolutely.
First, consider joining a professional networking site such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers a managed professional setting online in which you can make new connections through trusted contacts. Users may include a brief bio or resume in their profile and indicate what sort of contact they are open to receiving, such as business deals, reference requests, getting back in touch, career opportunities, consulting offers, job inquiries, or expertise requests.
Next, submit your CV to reputable search firms and be willing to act as a source of information to help them find candidates for positions that are not a match for you. If a recruiter calls to seek your insight, your response can speak volumes. Search firms such as Heidrick & Struggles, Spencer Stuart, and Korn Ferry have a well-established process and can be expected to call upon you only when appropriate. As you build a relationship with them, they will better understand your expertise and interests.
Become a resource for others in the area in which you specialize. If you are an intellectual property attorney, don't just belong to the bar association, belong to the intellectual property law section, even better serve on a committee.
Whether through the bar association, with your firm, or on your own, develop and present continuing education classes. Be sure to maintain lists of attendees and include reliable contact information in your course materials.
Finally, stay informed about not only your field of speciality, but also its top firms and players, improving your position as a respected resource and enabling you to better evaluate offers presented to you.