If you’re job hunting, you’ve probably been caught in the endless search-apply-wait cycle.
You send off your resume, then wonder why you’re not getting a response – or if anyone even looked at it.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “hidden job market,” why you need to use it, and how quickly you can land a job with it.
Most people think of the hidden job market as just a pool of unadvertised positions that seemingly fly under the radar. However, the phrase does NOT apply only to groups of unposted jobs!
This market ALSO contains jobs that never make it to the Internet because they are in the soon-to-be-created, formative phase, PLUS jobs that are known only to company insiders.
Here are 3 ways to gain access to this vast pool of opportunities:
1 – Pay attention to timing for new jobs in development.
For jobs that are still being created, timing rules! This means that you’ve got to get ahead of the game in order to catch a great opportunity.
Case in point: A good number of leadership professionals find their next position by being among the first to sniff out the potential for a new opportunity.
One great way to do this is to look for a lot of movement in one industry, because it can create need among the companies within that field. Identify companies that are competitors to the firms where you’re applying, so that you can be first in line for new opportunities – right as they’re created.
To spell it out, suppose Company A needs two SVPs of Sales (since they have posted openings for these positions), and Company B just happens to have some.
When Company B’s sales executives leave to take the new roles at Company A. who’s going to fill those newly opened jobs at Company B?
YOU are, because you’ve thought this through and been waiting for your golden opportunity, AND you applied to BOTH companies in anticipation of this need.
2 – Consider sending your resume for a firm’s NEXT open job.
Many of my clients have found positions simply by sending a resume unsolicited. What’s magic about that, you might ask?
Well, having a great candidate in hand means the employer has less reasons to post a job, OR it might only be posted as a formality, since they already have YOU.
In addition, some firms struggle for a long time with a business need, without realizing that someone (you) has skills to fit that need.
If you send a resume (and a social media introduction, cover letter, or other type of inquiry) that clearly outlines how you can solve this business need, it can make quite an impact.
Sound farfetched? It’s happened several times to my clients, who are able to make such a strong case with their skills that the companies actually CREATED jobs for them.
3 – Refresh your network – frequently – to stay in touch with future company insiders.
There’s a reason everyone is telling you to get moving on your network – it’s the strongest strategy you can find, with up to a 70% return for your efforts. Moreover, it’s backed up with plenty of research that suggests most prime jobs (again, those that NEVER hit the Internet) are snapped up by well-networked leaders.
When I recruited for technical organizations, for example, we put a lot more weight on an insider referral than we did with ANY other form of hiring, including job fairs, ads (online and offline), and applications from job hunters.
Since most professionals won’t refer a colleague without being certain of their work quality, we knew this was the best way to get highly qualified candidates.
My strongest recommendation is to stay in touch with colleagues and professional contacts in any way possible.
Exchange email, add them to your LinkedIn profile, or ask if they’d like to join you at a local association meeting.
When you nurture these types of contacts, the value to your career over time is quite significant, and can make the difference between waiting months during your next job search, to being selected quickly for a great opportunity by a great company.
As you can see, there’s a clever strategy to being at the forefront of job market happenings.