You can shorten your job hunt by knowing how to use methods other applicants usually miss. After all, if you’re relying on advertised positions alone, you could spend a long time searching. Advertised positions represent as little as 20% of total vacancies, and your resume often winds up in a pile with hundreds of other hopefuls.
On the other hand, the hidden job market has a larger number of opportunities, and less competition. Learn how to position yourself to take advantage of openings that haven’t been advertised.
Benefits of Cracking the Hidden Job Market
1. Achieve a closer fit. When you’re targeting companies you want to work for, you’re more likely to find a workplace where you’ll feel at home. That sense of belonging will add to your job satisfaction.
2. Weigh in early. How would you like to write your job description? Contacting potential employers early in the process may allow you to shape your position to suit your strengths.
3. Receive more offers. The average corporate job opening that’s advertised attracts up to 250 resumes. Your odds of being welcomed onboard increase when there are fewer candidates under consideration.
Cracking the Hidden Job Market with Networking
1. Go online. LinkedIn and other technology make it easy to research and contact companies that interest you. Be sure to keep your profile updated because hiring managers may be looking for you, too.
2. Reach out to recruiters. Many positions are filled through employment agencies. Call up a recruiter to schedule a consultation and stay in touch so you can hear about future developments.
3. Volunteer your services. Use your skills to support a worthy cause. You can make new contacts and impress them with your expertise at organizing events or tracking finances.
4. Join a networking group. Your fellow job hunters often have valuable leads. Start a club or networking group or find one through community and professional contacts.
5. Attend events. Conferences and networking sessions can help you touch base with lots of contacts in a short time. See what’s on the calendar at your professional association or read industry publications.
6. Contact alumni. Mine your college alumni group for information and referrals. Some companies have similar resources for former employees or you can approach them on your own.
7. Seek referrals. Ask your contacts who else they would suggest for you to talk with. That way you can create a pipeline of information interviews and coffee dates.
8. Focus on giving. Remember that networking is more about giving than taking. Offer to help others before you ask for something for yourself.
Cracking the Hidden Job Market by Becoming an Insider
1. Complete an internship. If you excel at your summer position, you may have a shot at joining the staff. Pick a company with a track record for hiring interns and ask your supervisor for feedback to help you learn and grow.
2. Consider temporary positions. Even if you’re looking for a permanent position, it may be worthwhile to accept temporary jobs, especially if you’re currently unemployed. That way you may be able to view internal listings on the company website, as well as network with employees who could have a say in hiring you.
3. Do contract work. Contract assignments are another way to showcase your abilities at any stage in your career. Exceed expectations and let the company know what kind of opportunities you’re looking for.
Companies often bypass advertising to save money and target candidates who are more likely to match their needs. By tapping into the hidden employment market, you can impress hiring managers and find your dream job.
Shawna Lake is an HR Consultant for small businesses and a career coach for individuals. If your resume isn’t getting the traction you’d like, we can help.