Hidden Job Market: How to Find a Job in Any Economy

For several years now, we’ve been hearing about the hidden job market, but what is it, and how can job seekers access it? At its core, the hidden job market is any place where jobs get filled without being formally posted or advertised. And it includes jobs that are filled before they are advertised. In addition, there are times when organizations create a job around a certain skills set, or perhaps a job seeker meets with an employer and proposes a project and a job is created, or perhaps an employer has an idea for growing the organization, and seeks a prospective employee through her networks.


Typically, prospective employers prefer to fill vacancies without using job ads, which implies that the savvy job seeker has to think like a boss, and have an opportunity-seeking mindset. General statistics estimate that about 80% of today’s jobs aren’t advertised. This means that only one in five jobs is ever advertised. Do not be discouraged by the statistics because once you discover how to tap into the hidden job market, you’ll find that it’s less competitive and rigid. And with the rise of social media, the hidden job market is not as mysterious as it once was.


A key premise in tapping into the hidden job market, and finding a job in any economy, is that you understand that you find a job by talking to people, and that looking for a job is a full-time job, so schedule your job search time and stick to it. Let people in your networks know that you are open to new employment possibilities so that you are top-of-mind.


The rise of social media provides job seekers with opportunities to network online, but old school networking – meeting face-to-face is even more important today. In fact, it is very powerful when job seekers combine both types of networking when looking for a job. Connect to and start a conversation with people in the companies that you want to work for, and if it’s possible and makes sense, have a telephone conversation or a face-to-face meeting with them. The hidden job market is best explored when you focus your energy on exploring the many possibilities.


LinkedIn is one answer to the hidden job market. Update and optimize your profile to make sure that it tells a captivating story of what you have to offer, as well as reflects the keywords that are important for the position that you are seeking – the ones that recruiters and hiring managers will use to search for you. In the headlines section of your LinkedIn profile include your job title, industry and specialty. Read our related posts for further information: 7 LinkedIn Tips for the Job Seeker and How to Grow and Manage Your Network on Contacts on LinkedIn.


Join industry, professional, local, alumni and association, and top job seeker groups. Use job postings to discover which companies are hiring to target them, and also to find people who are hiring or who can become internal advocates for you. LinkedIn Advanced People search and Signal help you to identify people who have the power to hire you so you can start to build a relationship with them.


If you understand what the hidden job market is, and think like an employer, and adjust your job search strategy accordingly, you will be able to tap into jobs that your peers are not aware of. So be curious and open-minded, and spend time discovering new companies, new possibilities and openings for a great job.


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