A client recently told me that she wanted to “find” the hidden job market but did not know where to start. So, what defines a “hidden” job opportunity? Why are these positions “hidden?” And how do you target, research and successfully network into companies to meet hiring decision makers?

Currently, over 80% of jobs are not advertised or they are already filled before they are posted. Why? Because hiring managers:

  • Are relying on contacts or current employees to refer the right person for open positions before they post them. Eventually, the position may be posted but if you have been referred, you could be the top candidate.
  • Have a need that requires specific skills and experience but have not formally defined the job. If you connect with hiring decision makers who understand your value, they can build a job around you.
  • Do not even know that they have a need until they meet someone with your experience, strengths and skills that can add real value to their organization and they create a job for you.

Where Do I Start?

Your number one goal is to get in front of a decision maker.

  • Know and be able to talk about your strengths, skills and experience. Practice your “elevator speech” and understand your career expectations and goals.
  • Target and research companies using: Google, LexisNexis, LinkedIn, news articles, company websites, Glassdoor.com and chambers of commerce.
  • Understand which jobs and companies are a good match with your background/interests. What is it like to work there? What is the culture like? What about the senior management and financial health of the company? What skills are required for the kinds of jobs they have?
  • Use your NETWORK of family, friends and colleagues to connect with people to learn more.

Because the hidden job market may initially be more time consuming or difficult to access, 75% of job seekers do not take advantage of it, relying instead on job websites and company postings. By focusing your time and efforts on the hidden market, you will experience less competition for high-quality jobs and will increase your success in finding a position appropriate to your level of experience and career goals.

Gail Fritzinger is a Senior Transition Coach at ICC, Inc. She has spent her career helping others navigate the complex job transition waters. For more than 15 years, she has built trust and strong personal connections with her clients as she listens to their needs and helps them identify their abilities and passions. She specializes in helping clients turn what can be a daunting time into one of excitement and challenge as she helps them develop plans for their career transitions.

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