21 Proven Ways to Access the Hidden Job Market
Many jobs these days are being filled yet are not advertised. They are, instead, part of the hidden job market. What is the hidden job market? These are millions of job postings that are never publicized formally. Based on recent estimates, the hidden job market accounts for almost 80-percent of all employee hires. Why do employers choose to fill positions without advertising them? First, it saves them time and money. Moreover, even when posting a job online for free, recruiting managers get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of unqualified applicants that reply. Employers end up spending so much resources and hours screening every candidate. Hence, some businesses choose to find candidates through their own network, wherein every candidate has been singled out by a source that is trusted. So if you are job hunting (or at least on the lookout), you may want to be keyed into the positions in the hidden job market. In addition, finding these hidden jobs gives you a better chance of consideration than others do, because you have increased your visibility. Here are a couple of ways to help you find those hidden jobs, particularly by joining groups, harnessing the power of the internet, and internalizing and updating your habits and activities.
ACCESSING THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET
Alumni Associations. Your alumni association in university or college (even high school) can be a truly helpful resource. Many schools actually provide a career center for their alumni. You can tap into the network, as represented by others who have attended the same school. Employer Alumni Associations. Numerous employer alumni groups are a formation of people who are previous employees of a particular company. There are times when the employer finds these groups as a good resource for qualified and trained applicants, as needed. Usually, of course, they are just a group of friends who come together from time to time or simply stay in touch.
Job-Hunting Support Groups. These groups can offer you the assistance and moral support in searching for jobs. Job-hunting support groups are also wonderful resources for finding a contact for a particular company, getting feedback on your curriculum vitae, and the like. Definitely, these groups are also a way for you to show your professionalism, intelligence, experience, work ethics, etc. Remember, however, that you should not be simply a “user.” Find ways to help others in these groups and help will eventually come back to you. Think of this as a win-win situation.
Professional Associations or Societies. If you join professional associations such as your local chamber of commerce or a law society (as applicable), this is a good way to talk to and network with those in your industry. Note that for students, membership fees are customarily available at a discounted price. Online Access Online Discussion Groups. There are multitudes of free online discussion groups on every topic on job searches. First, look for the industry or company that is of interest of you and join their group. Keep in mind, however, that while they can be a fount of information, there is also misinformation present. Thus, do not believe everything that you read in these groups. If they permit members to post questions or comments, simply read existing posts without participating, so you can get an idea of the typical rules of conduct. If and when you want to participate, make sure that your post is relevant (even helpful) and well written.
Social Networking Sites. If you use social networking sites, always keep your profile updated and refreshed. In these social networking sites, try to join groups and participate in the discussions. This is so people can become familiar with your name and your work and eventually try to seek you out. Keep in mind that companies and recruiters usually buy memberships that allow them a back entrance to find out who is active in their industry or field. So always guarantee that your comments are constructive and positive.
Research Jobs Pages of Companies. Target and research companies that you find interesting. Most companies would typically post on their websites and never reach out to recruiters, agencies, or job boards. Actually, many companies have referral programs internally, so current employees can make referrals. So do not just set aside going to a company’s main website.
Media Research. Read local and international news and journals and watch the television for the latest on what is going on with companies in your vicinity. If you see someone being interviewed on TV, send him or her a message or a note that you liked what he or she said and would like to discuss things further over coffee or something to that effect.
News Alerts Sign-Up. A good way to know about hidden jobs is to stay updated with potential employers. In this manner, you are one of the firsts to know if someone is leasing an additional office space, signing a partnership deal, or receiving new funding. These all indicate that a company might be hiring soon. You can use Google Alerts to stay up-to-date. Simply go to the Google Alerts webpage and type the industry, employers, or decision-makers you want to keep track of. Afterwards, you will start getting emails with recent news that Google gathered. An extra tip about Google Alerts – once you receive an alert about something important, try to incorporate it in your phone call or email when you want to request for an interview.
Habits and Activities Conferences, Trade Shows, and Conventions. Conferences, trade shows, and conventions are the best places to look for hidden jobs. They will allow you to get new contacts who can inform you about job postings that have not yet been posted, aid you in getting that job interview, offer access to influential persons with the hiring power, and find employers that are currently in its growth cycle that might be searching for staff members soon. These events can be costly, for sure, and would affect you more if you were out of work. However, try to attend at least one major event every year in your industry. If you still cannot afford the costs, try to attend local industry meetings instead. A tip to reducing or eliminating costs is to attend the events as a volunteer.
Connection to Insiders. Attempt to talk to industry and company insiders. This will help you know what is happening, so you can target your career path and job search efforts. You can find them in the conferences, trade shows, and conventions and during your networking efforts.
Connection with Professors and Industry Peers. Besides going the social networking (online) route, traditional face-to-face networking with professors and industry peers are good. These face-to-face interactions with people you know well (or would like to get to know better) are helpful. Previous professors may have former students who are working in the company you are interested in or have connections to the industry you are hoping to be a part of. In addition, industry peers could have insiders in companies that you might like to join.
Direct Employer Contact. You would be surprised that people rarely reach out to the employer of their choice unless there are actual positions being advertised for that company. We know it takes a lot to ask for an interview. However, smart recruiting managers are always on the lookout for professionals that can help their company or save funds. So first, research who the recruiting manager is and be courageous. Call or email him or her to introduce yourself. Be ready to explain your background and your experience and how it can be useful to their company. In this manner, even if the company is currently full or there is a hiring freeze, they will remember you once positions become available. A tip to get an introduction to a decision-maker is to use a LinkedIn connection. You may attract the attention of your target when you receive referrals.
Informational Interviews. Informational interviews are not job interviews, so it does not require that you bring a resume. Instead, it is a meeting that you can arrange with an industry expert. This will help you ask them questions on what they are doing so you can get career advice, if they have any. Think of it as a fact-finding mission of sorts. Your objective is to get as much information as you can from an expert. In this manner, you increase your network and find leads for employment. Another great advantage, particularly if you are just starting your career, is that you will immediately find out what it takes to be a success in your field. Marketing and Establishment as an Information Source in the Industry. Try to market and establish yourself as a source of information for your industry. How do you do this? You can send your contacts (individually, of course) links to interesting articles around once or twice every year. Remember when you send the links; keep your email short and sweet. By doing this, the information is connected to you immediately and you are perceived as a well-read and valuable source of information. Alternatively, make sure you learn as much about your targeted companies and that you can talk about them intelligently and comfortably. As soon as you have become knowledgeable about those companies, write letters to them. Do not ask for a job directly. Request instead for an informational interview (discussed previously). This allows you to show that you have expertise in your industry.
Previous Employers and Colleagues. Previous employers and colleagues would probably know you better than anyone, at least professionally. Although they cannot hire you again, they are well positioned to recommend and refer you to other employers. So make sure to stay in touch with previous bosses or supervisors with whom you have had a wonderful relationship. For former colleagues, although they are as good as previous bosses, they are less likely to be able to hire you directly. Nevertheless, still search for someone who can guarantee your good work. This is a strong tool to get a job, prior to its posting.
Relationship with the Decision-Makers. Do not wait for a job to be posted. Start the contact with a hiring manager in a company you would like to work for and start a conversation. If you have no contacts within the company, search their website for important email addresses. However, avoid the human resources department. Ask the employees to refer you to the particular head of the department you are targeting. You have to make sure you talk to the person who makes the decisions. They would know about the job opening even before human resources. As soon as you are in contact with the decision maker, ask for their ideas and advice. When you ask for advice, you can actually get a job offer faster than asking for a job directly. Such a discussion could lead to information that you may need more education, training, or experience in a particular company or field. Remember, however, for this to work, you have to be genuine and sincere.
Smart Networking. If you want to start tapping into your existing network, do not immediately contact them and say you are looking for a job. Begin with a personal note and ask if they are doing well. Afterwards, do let them know that you are looking for a job. People are usually turned-off by persons who contact them unexpectedly, asking if they can get a position in their organization. Just make sure to establish that you are not leaning on them. Show that, regardless if you want a job in their company or not, you would still contact them nonetheless. What you need is information from them, because information can lead to a job. You can get industry gossip to company leads. So, when your contact asks you to apply for an online job, follow-up with whom you can learn more about the job opening. Thus, apply, but try to follow through other areas of access. Generally, you have to make networking a habit and not only when you require a job. If you incorporate networking in your regular routine, you will immediately raise your possibilities of hearing about hidden job opportunities. So make sure you stay in touch with your previous colleagues and always keep on adding more connections through LinkedIn. Just remember the important rule of networking – to give before you receive. Networking should build authentic relationships and request for favors.
Spread the Word of Your Search. Many job seekers keep their job search a secret. It is understandable to keep it a secret if you are just leaving your company. However, if you are unemployed, do not let your pride be your downfall. An important link to the hidden job market is through your neighbors, family, and friends. You should not be embarrassed asking your personal network on who they know is hiring. So make it easy for them to help you look for a new job. When you talk to your personal contacts, let them know of the employers, fields, and positions that interest you. This starts the investigative process so you can delve into those hidden jobs.
Volunteering. Volunteering is a good way for you to get your foot in the door. You can show your enthusiasm and skills whenever you volunteer. If you cannot seem to find work experience via people you know, go to the organizations that you like directly. Learn as much as you can about the organization before you volunteer, so you can convey your true interest in their values, projects, and activities. Speak about the knowledge and skills that you have and how it can benefit their company.