Recruiter here, and those two statements
actively looking for a new position to further my career as there are no opportunities for progression in my current role.
keeping my eye out for interesting (i.e. better), new opportunities.
are not the same from a hiring manager's perspective or from a recruiter's perspective. Much is made about there being little difference between active and passive candidates, but once one specifically declares himself/herself as an active candidate the difference is very clear.
When you add the word 'actively', as in "I am actively seeking new opportunities", it gives the appearance that you have some strong motivation to leave your current job, and thus you should have a specific answer if asked "Why are you looking to leave your current job?". Whether or not you consider yourself an active candidate, making that declaration puts the employer in some potential position of power, and takes away at least a bit of your ability to negotiate and potentially your attractiveness as a candidate.
You say you are not desperate, and the word active would suggest that you at least could be.
Why might someone be an active job seeker, as opposed to passive?
- Unchallenged in their current job
- Conflict with a boss or co-worker
- Fearful they will soon be unemployed
The list could go on, but hopefully one can see that most of these have at least some negative connotations. Why is this person unemployed? Why do they feel unchallenged, and would they feel unchallenged in the job we are offering? What is the source of the conflict? None of these are going to be viewed as positives.
Active also insinuates that you are talking to many potential employers. This could help your ability to negotiate, but you only need two potential buyers to drive up price. If companies feel they have a low chance of hiring you due to other suitors being involved, how much are they going to invest in you during the interview process?
One could say they are actively seeking better opportunities, but the word active just creates an unnecessary issue. Say that you are not actively looking to leave your job but are keeping an ear open to new opportunities, and go on to say what intrigued you about the opportunity being discussed in the interview.