According the U.S. Department of Labor, 70-80 percent of all available jobs are never advertised. Companies will almost always try to fill a position by looking internally or by word-of-mouth before placing an ad online or even contacting a recruiter. By following a few simple steps for success, any job seeker can effectively assemble an action plan for mining the hidden job market.
1- Assemble a target list of companies you are interested in working for.
You’ll simply do a better job and be in a more fulfilling career if you are working for an organization that you truly believe in. There are many resources one can utilize in assembling a target list of organizations including business databases such as Hoover’s, Reference USA, Dun and Bradstreet, and LexisNexis. All you need is a library card to access. Another solid resource is the Denver Business Journal Book of Lists. Most any business today has a web site, so conducting a general internet search can also give you some solid leads.
2- Develop a 30-Second Commercial.
Prepare in advance for situations where you’ll need to introduce yourself to a hiring manager, business owner, or networking contact that can assist you. Your 30-Second Commercial should include information regarding your job search target, experience, and most importantly how you can help an organization. I would recommend writing it out to organize your thoughts, however, the delivery should be conversational and not sound scripted, rehearsed, or memorized.
3- Network it!
More people are hired through networking than any other job search technique, so start reaching out to people for coffee, lunch, or even a short phone call. Emailing is not networking. Rather than asking for a job, discuss you job search target with your networking contact and then ask if they have any tips, advice or recommendations (TAR). People generally love to help other people, so even though you may not get a solid job lead, so may gain an introduction to someone what can make things happen for you.
Also, attending networking events both inside and outside your target industry are extremely beneficial. Use these events to try out your 30-Second Commercial and see how many leads or contacts you can gain. Before adjourning any networking conversation, always remember to ask how you can help them as networking is a two-way street.
4- Use social media.
Uncovering the hidden job market has gotten much easier with the advent of social media, with LinkedIn being the best resource. On LinkedIn, you can research your target companies and find people who may be in a position to hire you or offer some solid information on getting hired. LinkedIn also has an InMail feature which allows you to send a direct message to someone at a target organization. Assemble a brief introductory email and ask the person for 10 minutes of their time via phone to discuss the industry, outlook, etc. Remember you’re not soliciting for a job, but simply gaining information. Follow companies of interest on Twitter to gain up-to-date information regarding company and industry news and potential openings.
5- The “direct approach” still works in certain instances.
Contacting a hiring manger in-person still works for certain types of businesses like retail, restaurants, and other organizations that deal with the general public. Dressing up, showing up, and asking for a hiring manger can still garner outstanding results in a few target industries.