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What's The Hidden Job Market And How Do I Access It?

Why Are Jobs Hidden? Jobs can be “invisible” for several reasons. One reason is that it takes time and costs money to advertise a position. If an employer knows that the job can be filled from a pool of candidates already on file, by headhunting, or via word of mouth, they’re not likely to advertise. I know some companies that don’t post open positions because of the deluge of applicants they receive. It’s impossible for them to wade through the 700+ candidates that apply. Another reason why a position might not be advertised is that the employer is looking to replace the person currently in the position.

Should You Look For Hidden Jobs? If you don’t take the time to look for hidden jobs, you’re only touching the tip of the iceberg—the 15% of jobs that are actually advertised. There will be a great deal of competition for those jobs, and because of that, your chances of securing an interview will be dramatically reduced. If employers have work available, but haven’t yet advertised, the pool of potential candidates narrows to your advantage.

How Can I Find Hidden Jobs? The more people who know that you’re looking for work, the more likely someone will have information about a job that isn’t advertised yet, or that may become available in the near future. You might be able to get the name of a good contact, or even a recommendation.

Direct Mail Send your resume and cover letter or a value proposition letter to a list of target employers. You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities and phone calls for interviews this method alone will generate. Even better, do some cold calling and meet a potential employer in person.

Social Media Take advantage of social media sites to promote your brand. LinkedIn is, of course, the most commonly used professional networking site. In fact, your chances of getting a job without having a LinkedIn profile are fairly slim. Set up a branded, professional profile on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well. Be aware that whatever you share on social media is in no way private, and potential employers can access it. So be smart about your social networking.

Information Interviews Another way to access hidden jobs is to set up informational interviews with companies you’re interested in. Find someone who currently does what you want to do and ask to set up a time to have a quick chat to learn more. This is something that’s often done by people just starting out in a particular field, but it can actually be helpful at all stages of your career. I’ll elaborate more on this in upcoming articles.

Consider Contract Work Or Consulting If you’re in a career slump, you might consider taking temporary, contract, or consulting positions. Many contract jobs have led to full-time employment, and if nothing else, they create more opportunities for you to network.

Career Fairs Career fairs can also be great networking opportunities. You might not get an immediate job offer, but in this job market, it isn’t really the goal either. I would go with value proposition letter and business card in hand and do something different.

Go Find Those Hidden Jobs Hopefully, now you can see why employers don’t always advertise or post to job boards (especially at the executive level). Over the next few weeks, we’ll expand on some of the techniques we just mentioned for finding hidden jobs. It’s going to be easier than you think! One of the most valuable tools when tapping into the hidden job market is a Value Proposition Letter. It is tremendously successful at grabbing the hiring manager’s attention and showing them the value you offer as a candidate.

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