Author: Marcy Fletchall | Senior Career Coach | Ascend Career and Life Strategies LLC
Contributor: Don Strankowski

Unadvertised jobs are not posted online or have a physical listing. These jobs tend to be filled internally, or the company chooses not to advertise that they are hiring. The job market has evolved significantly, with an estimated 80% of job openings not advertised through traditional job boards or career websites. These hidden job opportunities are filled through networking, referrals, and proactive approaches. Job seekers can gain a competitive advantage by tapping into this hidden job market. Further, it can offer access to a broader range of opportunities.

Understanding how to search for unadvertised jobs is essential through the following approaches:

Targeting Companies

Before diving into the hidden job market, having a clear vision of your career goals and the industries or companies you aspire to work for is essential. Conducting thorough research to identify organizations that align with your interests, values, skill, and income offers an excellent opportunity to understand the potential employer. You can use Google Search to find “the top 25 companies” in [city, state]. You can also use the local Chamber of Commerce company membership in your city and surrounding towns. LinkedIn and other professional networking platforms are great resources for creating a list of target companies and industry professionals.

Strengthen Your Online Presence

In today’s digital age, having a robust online presence is crucial for job seekers. Update your LinkedIn profile and ensure it showcases your skills, achievements, and education. Connect with professionals in your desired industry. You may want to join relevant groups such as associations, workshops, and webinars and participate in discussions to expand your network. Be part of the LinkedIn responding community. Follow others and invite others to follow you. There are many other social media sites for professionals. After choosing a site(s), create a professional profile, start a conversation, and contribute to the online discussion. Hiring managers often use These professional sites to find people to hire.

Harness the Power of Networking

Have you ever heard the saying, “The fastest way to find a job is through networking”? Networking is the cornerstone of accessing the hidden job market. If you don’t have an extensive network, build one by finding professionals in MeetUp, joining industry associations, and attending meetings and other events within your areas of interest. Attend industry conferences, seminars, workshops, and social events to meet people from your target companies. Demonstrate your area of expertise and excitement by engaging in genuine conversations, building meaningful relationships, and reaching out to others.

Conduct Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are not job interviews but opportunities to gain insights into the company’s culture, industry trends, and potential job opportunities. Request an informational interview with professionals working in your desired companies or industry. You can often find these professionals on LinkedIn and the company website. Respect their time, come prepared with thoughtful questions, and express gratitude for their guidance. Get their business card, and always write a thank you letter.

Leverage Alumni and School Resources

If you are a college or university graduate, try tapping into your alum network. Alums often have a strong bond and are more inclined to help fellow graduates. Your educational institution’s Career Services or Career Counselors can provide valuable resources, job leads, and alums connections to assist you in your job search.

Complete Freelance or Contracting Work

Depending on your work type, consider completing some short-term contract or freelance work with companies you want to work with full-time. This allows you to demonstrate your skills and interest in that business. It also allows you to meet people in the company and use it to your networking advantage by making connections and demonstrating the value you bring to the job.

Personal Outreach

Don’t be afraid to contact individuals within your target companies through personalized cold emails. Highlight your passion for the industry, mention mutual connections or shared interests, and express your interest in contributing to the company’s success. Personalized messages show sincerity and may open doors to unadvertised opportunities.

Another approach is LinkedIn. When reaching out on LinkedIn, most people will have better results sending an InMail to a hiring manager at a target company vs a cold email. Many cold emails end up in spam, get deleted, or are just not read. InMail has a better chance of being opened especially when the sender line says, “From LinkedIn Member Don Strankowski” so the recipient knows it’s not spam or a virus. The best subject line to use is “Requesting Advice,” which piques the recipient’s interest. Nothing is ever 100%, but this gives the sender a chance at having their message opened and read, which is the 98%.


Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

Volunteering or pursuing internships with your target companies can be an excellent strategy to get your foot in the door. Not only does it provide relevant work experience, but it also allows you to showcase your skills and work ethic, potentially leading to permanent positions. Volunteering at business events enables you to meet people in the industry and learn about open positions.

Industry-Specific Job Boards and Websites

Although many jobs may not be advertised on general job boards, some industries have specific websites or platforms dedicated to job listings. Research these industry-specific job platforms and websites to find hidden job opportunities.

Create and Share Original Content

Position yourself as an industry thought leader by creating and sharing original content. Start a blog, write articles or record videos showcasing your expertise and insights. Your content could attract the attention of recruiters and potential employers who may reach out to you with unadvertised job opportunities.

Leverage Social Media

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, X, Instagram, and Facebook are not just for personal use. Engage with the content of the companies you are interested in and follow them. Some companies use social media to announce job openings or reach potential candidates. LinkedIn is such a company.

Follow Up and Stay Persistent

In the hidden job market, patience and persistence are key. If you don’t receive immediate responses, don’t be discouraged. Follow up with people you’ve connected with, express your continued interest, and keep nurturing those relationships.

Bonus Tips

The two most important things to do FIRST is choose the company and create your elevator pitch. Researching the companies in your area, do a deep dive into the organization to get a feel for who they are and if you want to work for them. Google their company reviews and see what employees say. You may find on their website unadvertised positions.

An elevator pitch is a 60-90 second brief about who you are, what you have done that aligns with what they want, and the value you bring to the table. It is a vital part of networking because it helps you quickly detail your professional abilities when you meet someone new or when interviewers ask that inevitable question, “So, tell us about yourself.”

Taping into the hidden job market requires pursuing proactive efforts, networking, and building meaningful connections. By implementing this dynamic strategy, you can increase your chances of accessing 80% of job opportunities not advertised publicly. Embrace a proactive mindset, showcase your unique value, and persist in pursuing a rewarding career.


Marcy Fletchall is an award-winning Human Resources professional with over 20 years of industry experience. She currently shares her extensive knowledge as a Senior Career Coach for Ascend Career and Life Strategies. Marcy’s personal experiences may offer her clients different perspectives on the world of work. Her portfolio includes outplacement management, job search strategies, executive and career coaching, career planning and transition coaching, training and development, and psychometric assessment.