If you have responded to numerous online job postings and are still not hearing back from companies, consider getting out from behind the computer and tap into the hidden job market. The term hidden job market refers to open positions that aren’t advertised or posted online. Many employers try to reduce the time and expense of an online application process by hiring internally, working with recruiting firms and headhunters and requesting referrals from their current employees.
Even though these alternative methods of hiring are hidden, it is not only possible for you to learn about these unpublished jobs but also more likely that you can land a job through this way than through regular channels. In fact, according to job expert Alison Doyle (What Is the Hidden Job Market?) at least 60% of all jobs are found through networking to uncover this hidden job market rather than through traditional job searching.
Career coach Nancy Collamer (6 Ways To Crack The ‘Hidden’ Job Market) offers several strategies to help you find out about “hidden jobs” by improving your networking skills and expanding your reach, including:
Focus on networking. Uncovering the hidden job market requires you to connect with people who have inside knowledge about unposted openings. In order to make these valuable connections, it’s important to:
- Network on a regular basis, not just when you need a job. By staying in regular touch with a large network of professional and personal connections as part of your normal routine, you’ll increase your chances of hearing about opportunities.
- Observe an important rule of networking: 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 building genuine relationships, not asking for favors.
- Make it easy for people to help you find a job by talking about the kinds of positions you’re looking for and the employers or fields that interest you. Follow up by email so they’ll have some key takeaways summarizing what you discussed. Also, ask others who else you should be talking to.
Join a networking group. Other job seekers can sometimes be the best resources for learning about employers who are likely to hire. Most will be willing to share their knowledge, knowing that other job seekers will likely share helpful information in return. The Tri-Valley Career Center sponsors a weekly Job Club which offers attendees the opportunity to receive support, swap leads, offer feedback and benefit from guest speakers. The Job Club meets on Tuesday evenings at 5:30pm and on Thursday mornings at 10:00am, both in Dublin. For more information call (925) 560-9431.
Contact employers directly. It takes extra effort to reach out to companies even though you don’t see a specific opening that matches your skills and experience. However, managers are often interested in meeting qualified people who could fill future needs within their organizations. If you can get the name of a hiring manager through in-person or online networking (such as LinkedIn), email or call to introduce yourself and explain how your background and experience would be useful there.
Sign up for Google News Alerts. Google News Alerts allows you to stay up to date with prospective employers by alerting you to activity, such as expanding office space, signing a new partnership deal or receiving a new round of funding, which could indicate that these companies might soon be hiring. Go to the Google Alerts page, type in which employers, decision makers and fields of interest you want to hear about and start receiving emails with the latest news.
Attend conferences, trade shows or local industry gatherings. Attending gatherings of companies in your industry or field of interest can give you opportunities to 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 employees. If the cost of attending a conference or trade show is prohibitive, you may be able to reduce or eliminate this cost by offering to work there as a volunteer.
The good news about the hidden job market is that it is hidden, which means that only really dedicated job seekers are finding the opportunities. As recruiting and employment consultant Jeff Lipschultz points out (Penetrating the Hidden Job Market), this translates to less competition for each job opening. If you can focus on tapping into this hidden job market, you might find that getting a job through this method is actually easier than submitting your resume along with the hundreds of others who respond to online job postings.