The Hidden Job Market Tips

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Find 80% of Jobs on the Hidden Market

It is estimated that only 20% of all jobs are ever advertised, meaning 80% of jobs are filled by companies who never advertised the position. Instead these positions are filled by referral, the "who do you know" method of recruitment. So while keeping an eye on newspaper advertisements and internet job search sites is important, the percentages are in your favor if you investigate the hidden job market.

You may be saying, "Yeah, yeah, I've heard it before! Now, how do I access that 80%?"

Try the following, in this order...

  1. Identify types of employers you are interested in

  2. Find specific potential employers

  3. Find contacts within the target employer

1. Identify types of employers

There may be companies you are familiar with and many more that you have never heard of. Many opportunities are located in smaller businesses, so while a Fortune 500 list of companies is a good starting point, by no means should it be your only list.

  • Kind of industry you want to work for

  • Skills sets you want to use

  • Where you want to live

Information to look for:

  • Who hires people who do what you want to do

  • What industry makes/does what you want to be involved with?

  • What employers are in your geographic area of interest?

  • Who do you already know?

2. Find specific potential employers
Tap into your network of professional and personal contacts to identify potential employers. Read major newspapers, especially The Wall Street Journal. Check out magazines like Fast Company. Learn more about networking and informational interviewing from tips on and use general search sites to find out the types of positions that use your skills, and what types of employers seem to be hiring. A good one through the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) is

3. Find contacts
A good contact is anyone you can tell you about a job opening, give you industry insight and advice, or can refer you to someone else who can do either of these things. Never prejudge how helpful or unhelpful your contacts are going to be. While you may not think of your dentist as a good contact if you want to get a job in advertising, you never know who he or she may know.


Finding Jobs through Word of Mouth

It's commonly estimated that over two-thirds of positions are ulitmately filled by word of mouth. If you're currently searching for a new opportunity, you've got to start letting people know about it. Never pre-judge how helpful or unhelpful your contacts might be. Let's say, for example, that you are currently trying to obtain a position as an assistant producer at a television station. It's a position you're qualified for, but nobody seems to be hiring. Let your neighbor, your former teacher, even your dentist know that you are seeking this type of position. While they may not be in a place to help you directly, they might know someone who is. To go even one step further, ask this question directly to your contacts: "Is there anyone you can think of that might be a good person for me to talk to?" Their answer might surprise you!

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Guru Spotlight
Linda Handiak