Job seekers hear about the hidden job market and often wonder how much is myth vs. reality. Here is a guide on what is real, and what you can do to tap into these opportunities.

People do get hired for jobs that are never advertised.

Employers are sometimes “thinking” about a need or a strategic replacement, and you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

Companies that show evidence of growth (read press releases, look at lists of fast growth companies) often need to hire, but haven’t written the job reqs yet.

Strategic HR leaders often know which hiring executive would be open to an “A” player, and will bring a star to their attention.

How to get into the hidden opportunities:

  • Portray value to the employer. Be able to articulate specifically what you can do for your next employer, don’t just recite your history (interesting to you; boring to others).
  • Optimize your transferability. If you are an accountant, odds are you won’t be hired as a brain surgeon. The employer wants someone with relevant skills and experience, from their point of view. In this economy, go after logical choices. If you want to change fields or function, expect a tougher time.
  • Research: identify the employers that you most want to work for and who are most likely to be interested in you.
  • Do it yourself. Don’t invest more than 10-15% of your effort with headhunters. Good search consultants don’t find jobs for people; we find people for jobs. Go after the position yourself.
  • Network: Build, nurture and utilize your network to open doors. Employers often network before posting positions. Make friends within targeted companies. Employees often get referral cash for bringing in others. Become a heavily connected person on Linked-In.
  • Be subtle. Directly asking for a job is bold and often works. Also consider using the indirect approach – ask for information, referrals, etc., while subtly building a case to a prospective employer.
  • Consult. People who start as consultants often get offers to be a permanent hire.
  • Show Up: You multiply your communicative ability fivefold if you can get a meeting. If you aren’t working, dress up, and knock on doors. Expect a 5% favorable response. 20 doors = 1 interview.

In a highly competitive job market, you do need to go above and beyond answering ads to have an edge. Using some of these tips will help. Watch for news next month about our upcoming Webinar on how to market yourself.

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