The percentage of unadvertised jobs has been estimated to be as high as 80%. This would indicate only a few of the jobs are posted.
Given these percentages, pursuing the hidden job market has proven to be one of the most effective ways to shorten your job search.
Tapping into these unadvertised jobs requires a targeted search, extensive networking, and a crystal clear value proposition. Here are some secrets for tapping into this hidden job market:
1. Targeted Search
Create a list of target companies: this list can be prioritized by what's most important to you such as: size of the company, specific geographic area, type of product / services, industry, profit or nonprofit organization, reputation/company culture, and so on.
Be diligent in your research. Thoroughly check online sources, industry associations, Chamber of Commerce’s lists, business journals, etc. Look at the business section of newspapers – there are articles that highlight people moving up in a company, launch of new products, etc. These articles often identify the employer’s hiring needs long before a position is opened to the public.
Networking is even more important when targeting jobs that have yet to be advertised. Who do you know who has insider information about the companies on your target list? Identify possible networking sources - look for the former co-workers, clients, suppliers, etc. Another approach is to network directly with the person/department. Advanced Google search and www.jigsaw.com are great ways to find the names of people that may not be listed on the company website.
Social networks are also essential in any job search. However, exercise care if you’re currently employed. If recruiters can find you it’s possible that your employer is searching as well.
A LinkedIn profile is an incredibly powerful job search tool. If you’re currently employed; set your privacy settings so that the “looking for opportunities” box is unchecked. Recruiters are more interested in keywords, so review your profile to make sure you’ve included the appropriate keywords and skills.
In Facebook, keep friend groups separate with privacy settings so that personal posts are not viewable by professional friends. Twitter is being used more in job search and many job seekers are finding jobs. When tweeting, keep tweets professional and appropriate.
4. Understanding Your Value
Be prepared to answer questions similar to: Why should the prospective company contact me? What do I have to offer that is different from other candidates? What value do I bring to the organization?
Often, the employer isn’t aware of the need to hire until the perfect candidate presents him/herself. It isn’t unusual for an employer to create a position for a great candidate.
Revealing your value to a potential employer is essential in the hidden job market. Example: Bill Smith had been trying for a year to get hired by XYZ Company. Unfortunately, he didn’t know anyone in the company and none of his networking efforts had resulted in an introduction to a hiring manager.
So, Bill wrote a proposal offering possible solutions for the challenges the company was facing, highlighting his similar experiences and sent it Priority Mail to his direct target – the Executive Vice President of Sales. It was reviewed and the EVP liked what he saw. Sometime later the company created a new position for Bill!
Posting a resume on a popular job board along with thousands of other candidates and simply waiting for contact from a recruiter is rarely productive.
Instead, eliminate your competition by targeting the hidden job market.
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