For years, employment studies have suggested that 70 to 80% of job openings are unadvertised. Many experts believe that trend is growing even stronger due to social media and employee referral programs. Plus, this hidden job market often contains the most attractive positions and the highest salaries.
While cracking this market requires action on your part, it’s a lot more rewarding than reading job boards and sitting by the phone. Try these proven techniques for discovering the best jobs.
Job Hunting Through Word of Mouth
Gather useful information and create mutual benefits through networking. Focus on helping others while you uncover leads.
1. Identify your targets. Research the organizations that you want to work for. Look through LinkedIn profiles and company directories for the names of key staff members. Ask your current contacts to introduce you to people they know.
2. Search broadly. You probably have more contacts than you think. Your child’s piano teacher may have a college friend who’s looking for a new accountant.
3. Attend events. The internet can be fascinating, but it’s easier to make a memorable impression when you’re face to face. Mingle at monthly professional luncheons, happy hours, and awards ceremonies. You may even find out about new business ventures while you’re chatting with other parents at your child’s school play.
4. Rehearse your pitch. Prepare an intriguing introduction. Focus on the future and what kinds of opportunities you’re looking for. You can tell you’re on the right track if others ask questions wanting to know more.
Job Hunting Through Volunteering
Community service can fill in the gaps in your resume when you’re unemployed. If you have a day job, use your leisure time to make connections outside the office. Volunteer work can add to your portfolio and give you success stories that will impress your next employer.
1. Research causes. There’s bound to be a group that matches your passions, whether you care about animal welfare or math education. Believing in the cause will deepen your connection.
2. Define your role. Volunteers do much more than stuff envelopes. Pick assignments that enable you to expand your database skills, launch a social media campaign, or plan a fundraising dinner.
3. Cultivate relationships. Strike up conversations with other volunteers and staff members. Depending on your activities, you may also have the chance to meet board members or interact with the public and press.
Job Hunting Through Creating Value Propositions
If you’ve written proposals for your employer, it may be time to write one for yourself. A compelling offer grabs attention, especially when you’re approaching cold contacts.
1. Develop your presentation. If you’re new to writing proposals, browse online for instructions or sign up for a workshop on the subject. Focus on your capabilities and how you can use them to serve the organization you’re targeting.
2. Collect testimonials. Enthusiastic references will enhance your credibility. Ask your previous clients for feedback that you can post on your website, as well as letters of recommendation that you can attach to your proposal.
3. Build a pipeline. It can take time to find a new position. You may want to pursue shorter-term contract work while you’re waiting for a more permanent offer. Keep your eye out for additional prospects so you’ll have new projects lined up when older ones are drawing to a close.
A clear strategy and consistent effort will transform you into an insider who can successfully navigate the hidden job market. Meaningful work provides greater life satisfaction, so network your way to a higher salary and more senior position.