Enter the Hidden Job Market with These 7 Proven Tips.
It seems almost as if a cruel joke is being played on people desperate to find work. Most jobs getting filled these days aren’t even advertised. Instead, they’re typically part of the hidden job market — the thousands of jobs that never get formally posted but now account for up to 80% of hires, according to some estimates. So how can you get clued in to those hush-hush positions so you can apply for them?
Here are seven smart strategies to help you access the “hidden jobs” by improving your networking skills, leveraging technology and expanding your reach.
1. Change the way you network.
If you want to crack the hidden job market, you’ve got to be smarter about the way you connect with people with inside knowledge about unposted openings.
First, make networking a habit by adding new LinkedIn connections regularly. You’ll automatically increase your chances of hearing about opportunities.
Second, remember the cardinal rule of networking: Netgive, or rather give before you get. Forward articles you think could be helpful to people you know and pass on job leads you’ve heard about. Networking is about first building genuine relationships, not asking for favours.
2. Join a professional networking group.
Your fellow job seekers can sometimes be the best resources for learning about employers who are likely to hire. Most are eager to share their knowledge, knowing that others in the same boat will share in return. You can join leading voluntary organizations like CAMP Networking [www.CAMPNetworking.ca] or browse through the entire list of networks in Canada on the PINS network [www.networksforimmigrans.ca] to find the one suited for you.
3. Contact employers directly.
Yes, it is perfectly normal to contact employers directly. You have nothing to lose.
It takes effort to craft a compelling request for an interview but it’s worth the effort. Smart managers are always interested in meeting professionals who can help their employers make or save money. So figure out who the hiring manager is and be bold. Email or call to introduce yourself and explain how your background and experience would be useful there. This way, even if the company currently has a hiring freeze, you’ll be top of mind when positions do open up.
Remember, you can use LinkedIn to get introduced to the decision maker by one of your connections on the social network. You’re more likely to get your target’s attention if you get referred to him or her.
4. Sign up for Google News Alerts.
One of the best ways to learn about hidden jobs is to stay up-to-date with prospective employers. This way, you’ll be among the first to know when they lease additional office space, sign a big partnership deal or receive a new round of funding — all signs that the firm may soon be hiring.
Simply go to the Google Alerts page and type in the names of your preferred employers, decision makers and fields of interest you want to hear about. Then you’ll start receiving emails with the latest news Google has turned up.
5. Attend job fairs and conference trade shows.
These events are ideal places to mine the hidden job market. They’ll let you make new contacts who can tell you about unposted openings, help you get interviews, provide access to influencers with hiring power and discover employers in growth mode who are likely to be looking for staffers soon.
Yes, some conferences can be expensive, particularly if you’re out of work. Consider offering to work at these events as a volunteer. That way you may be able to offset the cost of attending any major conference in your field.
6. Build tight relationships with recruiters.
Consciously start building relationships with recruitment managers, especially the ones that are familiar with your industry and level of position. They may often have contracts for many positions which are never advertised.
Recruiters will be more forthcoming if you are perceived as an expert in your current industry – so do make sure that you are actively contributing to information on LinkedIn and have a robust social media profile.
7. Kijiji and Craigslist postings.
This is an often overlooked area. The obvious thing to do would be to check the ‘services’ section, but companies sometimes post Ads in the resume sections too.
Look up local Craigslist discussion forums and profession-related questions and you may just stumble upon the position you are seeking.
And one last tip: Always stay active in building your personal brand – creating a strong personal brand online and offline makes you memorable and easy to find when a manager needs someone just like you.
The hidden job of your dreams just might be hiding in plain sight — right down the hallway.