Networking: The Hidden Job Market

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Cast your job search net wider. Be proactive by tapping into the hidden job market by networking within your existing circle, and expanding that circle for broader networking.

What is the hidden job market?

Are you aware that more than half of job vacancies are filled without job ads?  This usually happens through internal appointments, people making their availability known to an organization they would like to work for, and through networking.  Recruitment can be a painful and expensive process so if a good fit is available, ready and willing to take the job, the recruitment process is often bypassed altogether.

Changing career may be possible within your current organization. In fact this is one of the least disruptive ways to change career.  You have all the advantages on your side. You know the ins-and-outs within the organization, and people there know you. However you need to let the right people know that you are seeking a change of position within the organization to increase your chances of finding positions in the hidden job market. Your networking skills are a very important element in the job search process. 

Research is important

Research any company you are contacting to make sure you suit their employment requirements. Consider whether you are comfortable with their stated values and vision. Try to find out if the reality of working for the company is congruent with their well-written mission statement.  Find out if they have permanent employees or contractors doing your job. Don’t waste your time sending your résumé as an accountant to a firm which sub-contracts their financial activities.

However, if there are companies that particularly suit what you are looking for by all means make personal contact. Many managers will file a résumé they like and make contact if a job arises. It’s a win-win situation.  The employer does not have to advertise and you have an advantage of them knowing about you if a position arises. That’s how this hidden job market game works.

LinkedIn: Purposeful networking online

The obvious way to tap into the hidden job market is Linkedin – social media networking for people who are serious about their career. Grow your contacts within LinkedIn for more successful chances of landing that perfect job!  Through this site you can hear of new jobs that are being advertised. More importantly you can create relationships with people in your industry and through them you can hear about potential jobs long before they are advertised.

Your broader network

Consider your broader network.  The people you mix with at weekend sporting activities, at your children’s school, at your neighbor’s barbecue, are all potential links to the hidden job network. You never know who knows someone who might be able to help you.

Be careful who you talk to

Let people know you are looking for a change of work so long as that isn’t going to cause you problems at your current workplace.

If the situation is more sensitive then ask socially appropriate questions about the work people do.  If they are in a related industry find a good opportunity to “have a chat”. Do they know of any opportunities coming up? Is there anyone they would suggest you talk to?  Could they keep you in mind should they hear of an appropriate opportunity?

This is the way that people find out first about jobs that are coming up, then take action to make themselves known and noticed and is one of the key job search strategies that really work. 

Article source:  This article was originally published in our sister-site BoomersNextStep, by the same author, Jenni Proctor.

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