The Hidden Job Market

The “hidden job market”  usually refers to jobs that — for one reason or another — are not publicly listed on job boards or elsewhere, and yet make up almost 70% of opportunities. Career Coach Bill Souders gives his tips on how to tap this market in your own job search.

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 This article is part of the Coaching Collective series, featuring tips and expertise from Flatiron School Career Coaches. Every Flatiron School graduate is eligible to receive up to 180 days of 1:1 career coaching with one of our professional coaches. This series is a glimpse of the expertise you can access during career coaching at Flatiron School. 

Aside from public job posts, there is a hidden market of jobs with limited accessibility. By accessing this market job seekers greatly increase their chances of landing a great opportunity.  

The “hidden job market”  usually refers to jobs that — for one reason or another — are not publicly listed on job boards or elsewhere. Why should this hidden job market be a priority in your job search? Because it is estimated that 70% of jobs are never publicly published. 

Most of these un-posted positions are either filled by internal candidates or are created after a recruiter meets a job seeker through networking. The only way to access them is through networking or having a recruiter or headhunter reach out to you

So, how can you access the hidden job market?

Alumni Associations

The alumni association is often an overlooked resource. From connecting with other experienced alumni professionals to employers interested in the school, there is a lot of potential to crack into the hidden job market. 

I am an alumnus of the University of Virginia (the graduation year will remain on a need-to-know basis), so I would go to the UVA alumni website. Once you reach this website you will see a plethora of resources to help you with your job search, including:

  • Career Advising
  • Alumni Professional Networks
  • Industry Networks 
  • Employer Relations
  • Events
  • And More!

You can book an appointment with a career advisor, join networking groups by geography or industry (healthcare, tech, etc..), and review job opportunities available to alumni.  While these opportunities are not exclusive to past graduates, they are listed on your college’s alumni website and curated for alumni members.

Reach Out To Existing Contacts

Activate the group of people that you already know. 

Your friends know lots of people! All of us have about 150 people in our network. Each of them is connected to another 150 people. That’s around 22,500 people just one step away from you. 

 Here is an easy way to identify your  1st degree and 2nd connections on LinkedIn:

1. Go to “Me” > Settings & Privacy

2. Choose “Get A Copy of Your Data”

3. Click the 2nd Option

4. Select “Connections”

5. Request the Archive

LinkedIn will grab all of your connections and email them over to you.

Make sure that in connecting with your existing contacts you are as specific as possible about your job search objectives, roles, and companies in which you are interested. The more specific you are about your job search goals, roles, and target companies, the better position they will be in to assist in your job search.

Attend Conferences

Conferences are also a great place to start conversations with someone who might know someone who knows someone who is hiring for the exact job you are trying to land. Even if you don’t snag an interview that day, you are connecting, growing your network, and engaging in professional development, which says a lot to employers.  

Here is a listing of conferences by industry.  Make sure you prepare thoroughly before attending the confidence. 

1.    Prepare your elevator speech. 

2.    Update your online networking accounts. 

3.    Scrub your social media pages. 

4.    Get new business cards. 

5.    Peruse the speaker list. 

6.    Connect with pertinent people after the event.

Join Professional Organizations

Professional and trade organizations offer development and connections with others in your field and enhance your business profile

Having an industry association on your resume says you are very committed to your profession and actively participating in its advancement. Clients, customers, and employers like this. 

But don’t just use this as a resume enhancement, engage in the benefits that they provide, which can include:

  • Job listings are an excellent way to find targeted job postings for your area of interest. In addition, you may be able to post your resume or profile online.
  • Tips on effective resumes or cover letters, job searching strategies, and negotiating techniques.
  • Events, webinars, and podcasts on industry-related topics.
  • Training and certification classes for upskilling and bridging a skills gap.
  • There are opportunities to network when you attend events. You also have access to the membership list, which enables you to schedule meetings with other members.
  • Opportunities to volunteer (i.e. serve on a committee of the professional association to get to know other members or try out a new skill that you don’t get to do in your day job). 

Here is a good website to identify those organizations that would be most applicable to your particular job search.

Connect With Recruiters

Some employers use recruiters to find candidates for non-posted jobs. You can sometimes research and discover their internal recruiters via social media. 

If you decide to reach out to them, avoid asking for a job immediately. Try to build a rapport first and discuss the reasons behind your interest in the company. Then you can mention some of your relevant and beneficial skills. 

Match their level of engagement and give them sufficient time to respond. You want to avoid overwhelming them by sending too many messages or pushing for a response.

Here is a good article and how you will want to communicate with recruiters and here is a listing of recruiters by industry.

Stay Active On Social Media

Many of today’s employers have social media profiles, so follow or connect with those that interest you most. You can also use them to identify key employees within the company. 

Try to build connections with these figures by engaging with their content regularly and respectfully, providing unique insights when possible to show your industry knowledge. If you can develop a rapport with these figures, you can reach out to them to express your interest and ask for an informational interview.  

To find these content creators at your target companies, take these steps:

1. Search LinkedIn for job-related terms.

2. Filter for “Posts”

3. Go to All Filters > Author Company and add your targets.

Now you have a list of content creators at your dream companies!

About Bill Souders 

Bill Souders is a career coach with Flatiron School. Bill spent 30 years working for the Coca-Cola Company in various sales leadership roles before transitioning into coaching. His expertise is in the career coaching, transition, and placement of college grads, high-potential entry-level and emerging leaders, and c-suite executives.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of November 16, 2022. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

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