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Tapping into the Hidden Job Market

Think of an iceberg. The part of the iceberg that shows above the water represents the open job market – the 20% of jobs that are posted publically. The larger part of the iceberg, hidden below the surface of the water, represents the 80% of jobs that are not posted publically. The hidden job market is real and you can tap into it! Follow these two tips to find jobs before they are ever posted on the internet and break into the hidden job market:

Network, network, network! Many career experts say job seekers should spend no more than 20% of their time answering ads. Instead, focus on building and maintaining your network.

  1. Talk to people about your job search and use all channels – phone calls, social media, face-to-face, professional events, casual conversation.
  2. Have networking cards to hand out with your contact information and LinkedIn URL.
  3. Know your worth and be able to communicate it! Be prepared when opportunity knocks. If you meet someone standing in line for coffee or at a professional networking event, you must be able to articulate how your skills and experience will benefit their company. Prepare an elevator pitch (your 30-60 second “commercial”) and an escalator pitch (your 6 second brand statement.)
  4. Respect your network! People are busy. Be concise, get to the point, be helpful, and don’t take up too much of their time.

Be Direct! If 80% of jobs are not advertised, you may be able to get in front of the line before a job is posted or a hiring manager even decides to hire by making direct contact. Follow these tips for successfully “cold-calling” potential employers:

  1. Know what specific job you want: Be exact so you can target your efforts effectively.
  2. Identify employers: What companies, locations, industries do what you want to do? Search for these leads by investigating professional associations, websites like glassdoor.com, social networks, the phonebook, or your chamber of commerce.
  3. Do your research: Once you know what company to target, investigate further to find out who the decision-makers are and to understand the company culture in order to tailor message so that it fits the organization’s needs and values.
  4. Tailor your marketing materials: There are no generic resumes and cover letters! If you are cold-calling employers, your marketing materials need to focus on what the employer specifically needs.

For more networking advice, come to the Business and Job Center for tip sheets, classes, or a one-on-one Career Coaching appointment to talk about your networking strategy!


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