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Career experts agree that relying solely on online postings during your job search will hold you back. Even though most applicants apply for jobs on a board or career site, most people hear about jobs through their personal networks. By relying on employee networks, recruiting firms, and referrals, many companies find the best talent out there and people who they know and like. With this in mind, how can you tap into the “hidden” job market?

Network & Get the Meeting

Make networking a habit, not a chore. Before taking any other actions, create a list of references and companies to target.  Start with close connections within these circles and work your way up from there.  You’d be surprised how easy it is to leverage LinkedIn to find relationships between colleagues and attractive employers. After finding these connections, send a message to set up meetings with them. Be as flexible as possible and come prepared with talking points and questions that arose in your job search. In addition, remember to build a relationship; don’t just ask for favors. You’ll likely learn about some new people to reach out to, plus you’ll have an “in” via the connections you both have. In this situation, any opportunity is a good opportunity (remember that in B2B sales, 13% of leads convert to opportunities).

Think Outside the Box

Networking is not the only way to access the hidden job market. Try these additional strategies to learn about unadvertised jobs:

  • Volunteer with an interesting company: This can be a simple “in” that helps you express interest in the company and network with other employees.
  • Follow companies on social media: You’ll be one of the first to hear about big changes, whether they pertain to growth opportunities or restructuring. Google News Alerts will also keep you ahead of the curve.
  • Contact employers: Many jobs are not publicly posted on job boards. Reach out to target companies by letter, e-mail, or phone – simply inquire about current/future openings in your field of expertise.
  • Follow local business news sources: (ex. Business First) and use these articles and information to connect.

Know Your Mission

You want to spend your energy on those opportunities that are the best fit for you. Present your professional brand strongly, authentically and consistently throughout the process.  If an employer picks a candidate from the hidden market, they want someone who meets all of their criteria including experience, skills and personality.  Be prepared with an elevator pitch that gets their attention and uniquely solves the problems they currently face.  You’ll have a good idea of these problems because you asked your other connections prior to the meeting.  At the end of the day, you’re investing your time wisely by proactively seeking companies with a mission that aligns with yours.

Cracking the hidden job market requires smarter strategies.  Now you know the secrets to find opportunities below the surface in your job search.  From that point, you just need to position yourself to maximum advantage.  To learn more about today’s ultra-competitive, digitally-driven approach to job search, develop your strategy with one of our career strategists.  Set up an introductory call here.

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