One of the common job-seeking strategies that career counselors stress is to tap the “hidden job market.” To some people that is a completely foreign concept, to others, there simply is no other way. The statistics are staggering. Some people swear that at least 70 percent of all jobs are in this “hidden job market”. Are you familiar with the hidden job market in your field? Is there a good way to access this market?
In simple terms, the hidden job market are basically positions that are not advertised. Someone within a company knows that there is going to be an expansion, a restructuring, a new department, perhaps someone is being promoted and leaving a vacancy, or any number of reasons that a position may become available. Prior to advertising the opening, many companies prefer to ask around. They ask current employees for referrals (which typically would eliminate the search and help them select someone who is known and trusted). Not only that it saves them the advertising costs of recruiting and saves them fees or a commission cost if the services of a headhunter or employment agency would have been utilized.
Sometimes the talents of a prospective candidate are so valuable or unique that even though there is not currently an opening in a particular company, they may create a position in order to hold onto this person, rather than miss the opportunity and have to look for someone down the road who may not have the same qualifications. The cost involved in hiring them too soon may ultimately save them money by not having to go through the recruiting process several months later.
One methods of tapping into the hidden job market is networking. There is no way to stress the importance of this, although it can be frustrating, time consuming and even costly. But it works. The more people you know, the greater the odds are that when someone is seeking a new employee or wants to discuss an upcoming opportunity, your name will pop up as someone to consider. And the more people who know you are looking or even the fact that you are an expert in your field or the fact that you have the background or the personality that is a great match for a particular enterprise certainly can’t hurt. If you are in the market for a new opportunity virtually everyone you know should know about your search. It may not mean that you are looking for a job in their firm, just the fact that word of mouth truly is the best form of advertising. Surely the last words you’d want to hear from a close friend or associate would be, “Gee, I wish I KNEW you were looking, just last week a friend of mine at an advertising agency hired someone for a position you would have been PERFECT for!” … How hard would you kick yourself then?
Other ways to tap into the hidden job market are cold-calling which most people hate. But those who have the guts to do this often do find success. It’s good practice to get your courage and sales skills honed. And even if you’re not in the market for a sales position, keep in mind that looking for ANY kind of job is selling. It’s all about selling yourself.
Lauren Castle is the owner of Impress Express, a professional image firm, focusing on career development, resume preparation, presentation skills, etiquette and interview coaching. We are members of the Professional Association of Resume Writers. For help with your image, posting your resume, or preparing your internet-friendly resume, contact Lauren directly at 858-459-7400. And, as always, please forward your image and career-related questions to email@example.com for further information.