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Tapping Into the Hidden Job Market

Debra Hayes
By Debra Hayes - Apr 18, 2016 12:53:57 PM


When it comes to jobs, one of the most important things to realize is that by the time a job is advertised online or in print, hundreds to thousands of other people are reading the ad and getting ready to apply.  That is a lot of competition, and it exists because you are dealing with the open job market – jobs that are formally posted.


There is, however, a whole other job market you can explore to reduce the competition: the hidden job market.  The hidden job market consists of jobs that have not yet hit the classified ads in the newspapers or the online postings.  In fact, companies may not even realize they need people to do these jobs.


Think of an iceberg.  Approximately 20% of the iceberg is visible, while 80% of the iceberg lies beneath the surface.  The open job market is the tip of the iceberg that is visible and the hidden job market is what lies beneath the surface.  This means that only a small portion of potential jobs are advertised.


Did you know that companies dislike hunting for new employees as much as people dislike hunting for new jobs?  Finding the right person takes time, and many employers never advertise their openings because they prefer to hire someone who is referred to them by their employees, business associates, friends, or their family.  These are the people they trust.  In other words, the hidden job market depends on word-of-mouth advertising – people who know about these opportunities tell other people, who tell others, and so on.


You can talk to people from companies you are interested in working for and look for opportunities such as the following:

  • Positions that are still in the planning stages
  • Positions that may become available because of employees moving, resigning or retiring
  • Positions that will be created because of new or expanded projects
  • Positions that will result from new corporate plans or reorganizations


If you are unsure how to talk to people about these opportunities, you are not alone.  Talking to strangers is not something that everyone is comfortable with.  However, to successfully conduct your job hunt, you will have to become comfortable with networking with people you don’t know.  It’s best to use a combination of traditional face-to-face networking and social, online networking.  Don’t just sit behind your computer all day, but attend social functions and connect with people.


Recruiters can be a great source of information. Do some research regarding recruiters who specialize in your field, then establish and nurture those relationships. Recruiters have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on within the hiring community, so use them!  Let them help you uncover the right opportunities.


Volunteering is another way you can make connections and find out about potential job opportunities. Aside from making you feel good by giving back to a good cause, volunteering will allow you access to new people. Those people know people, too! You can create an entirely new network for yourself: you never know what you might uncover.


Uncovering the hidden job market boils down to continued diligence.  Contact people, establish relationships, and knock on as many doors as you can to generate interest in your background. You never know where a conversation (online or otherwise) might lead.



If you would like a complementary coaching session to assist with your resume, interviewing tips or how to market yourself, please do not hesitate to email me. To register for the next event please click this link

To your success,


Debra Hayes