Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market (Online Guide)


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This is an online guide to help you dominate the hidden job market. The following are the table of contents that go through the basics to help you understand what the hidden job market is and how to dominate it.

Table Of Contents:

What Is The Hidden Job Market?

How Was The Hidden Job Market Formed and What Is Its Reason for Being?

The Pitfalls of Relying Solely on Large, Public Job Boards

What Kind of Jobs Are Found in the Hidden Job Market?

Direct Company Contact

Networking, Networking, Networking … Did We Mention Networking?


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Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market (Online Guide)

  1. 1. Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Resume to Referral ©2013
  2. 2. Table of Contents Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1 What Is The Hidden Job Market? .................................................................................... 1 How Was The Hidden Job Market Formed and What Is Its Reason for Being? .................. 3 The Pitfalls of Relying Solely on Large, Public Job Boards ................................................ 5 What Kind of Jobs Are Found in the Hidden Job Market? ................................................ 5 How to Become a Player in the Hidden Job Market ........................................................... 7 Direct Company Contact ........................................................................................... 8 Networking, Networking, Networking … Did We Mention Networking?.................. 11 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 14 Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market ii
  3. 3. Resume to Referral ©2013 Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market Introduction If you’re like many job-seekers, you’ve probably read more than a few articles about the best ways to find a new job. And in your reading, you may have been introduced to a number of buzzwords. And one of those may have left you scratching your head: namely, ‘the hidden job market’. The hidden job market? What’s that? Sounds darn right spooky. And if you continued reading without investigating any further, then good thing you came across this guide. Because here’s the thing – knowing what the hidden job market is and, more importantly, knowing how to effectively tap into it may be the single most effective tool in exponentially increasing the number of quality, real job leads available to you; the kind of job leads that lead to actual jobs. The goal of this guide to give you a little background info on what the hidden job market is all about and, more importantly, to give you a few key tips on how to tap into it and dominate it. So, let’s not waste anymore time. Why don’t we jump in and answer some questions that by now you’re probably very anxious to know the answer to – namely, what exactly is the hidden job market? What are hidden jobs? And what makes them so hidden? What Is The Hidden Job Market? At some point, you’ve undoubtedly heard the statistic that more than half of all open jobs are actually never publicly advertised or posted on a public job Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 1
  4. 4. board. In a similar manner, you more than likely also heard of someone, perhaps a friend or family member, who found a new job not as a result of submitting a resume to a company, but as a result of knowing a friend or contact at a hiring company. These are very real statistics and they cut at the heart of what the hidden job market is all about. The hidden job market is not a term used to describe some esoteric or abstract thing. Not at all. It’s a term that describes the spectrum of open jobs whose availability is never advertised in a mainstream hiring environment. And because these positions are never advertised in that type of hiring environment, they are essentially hidden from public view. So, if hidden jobs are not publicly advertised, then how are candidates found to fill the openings? Well, this brings up the second defining feature of hidden jobs: namely, candidates for hidden jobs are not found via public postings or job boards, but rather through networking, word of mouth and/or insider contacts. Thus, that friend who found a new job by knowing a contact at a hiring company essentially found a job that existed in the hidden market. And have no doubt – the hidden job market is not a small, temporary or locally-isolated phenomenon. The hidden job market is big, it’s here to stay and it’s not just a national force – it’s an international one too. It was mentioned earlier that more than half of all available jobs can be considered hidden jobs. This, fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, is probably an overly-conservative estimate. In fact, it’s estimated that 85% of all available positions are filled before they ever make it to public job boards, meaning that they are essentially hidden jobs. Now that you understand just how dominate the hidden job market is, you also understand why you as a job-seeker need to know its in’s and out’s and how to turn this crucial section of the job market from a potential liability to a true advantage. Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 2
  5. 5. Let’s explore a little deeper. How Was The Hidden Job Market Formed and What Is Its Reason for Being? Say you’re a manager and say you’ve been charged with finding a candidate to fill a recently vacated position in your department. How are you going to go about filling it? Hiring managers face this question time and again and their response, more often than not, is not to turn immediately to public job boards and postings. Here’s one of the big problems with large, online job boards from the hiring manager’s perspective: they attract a very diverse and very large pool of candidates, which means, if the manager uses these boards, they will be inundated with a sea of resumes to go through. Most hiring managers are looking for a very specific kind of candidate with a very specific set of skills and experience. So, receiving an avalanche of resumes from every spectrum of the candidate experience and skill set does the manager little good; in fact, it means the manager and his or her team must spend a lot of man hours going through all those resumes. And even after the manager sifts through all that paperwork, he or she still may not find a candidate they’re happy with. So, rather than first turning to job boards, many hiring mangers turn first to people they know either internally in the company or people they have worked for previously. If that fails to yield results, they then start networking and seeking recommendations from trusted sources in their network of contacts. It is here – when the manager turns to his or her network of contacts – that the job opening has truly entered into the hidden job market because, although the position is open and although the manager is actively seeking candidates, the Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 3
  6. 6. position has not been advertised in any public, mainstream hiring environment. Only when the manager’s network of contacts has failed to yield a suitable candidate will he or she then – and probably reluctantly – turn to a public job board to advertise his or her need. However, you can bet that even after the manager publicly advertises the opening, if a suitable candidate happens to appear suddenly in his or her network of contacts, that candidate will have an edge over any other similarly qualified candidate that appears via the avenue of public boards. Now besides avoiding an avalanche of resumes, turning to a network of contacts rather than publicly advertising their position offers other advantages to the hiring manager. For one thing, the manager’s network is most likely made up of people he or she has done business with. Therefore, it is a much more trustworthy source compared to something like a national-based hiring site. In addition, the manager’s network promises the manager a candidate who is more likely to have the real qualifications necessary to do the job well. But, there are other, less obvious, reasons as well:  publicly advertising an open position carries with it a very real risk to the hiring company – that risk being that, in publicly advertising their staffing needs, the hiring company could be revealing sensitive company information to their competitors, which would be very damaging to their business indeed;  additionally, sometimes even though a personnel change has been decided upon by the manager or the company, that position is still being occupied by an employee. Indeed, in certain situations, the employee is not even aware his or her impending dismissal or reassignment. It is for this reason that the manager seeks to avoid advertising his or her future staffing need. Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 4
  7. 7. Hopefully, you now understand some of the main reasons why the hidden job market exists. And hopefully, in describing these reasons, it reiterates just how real and powerful the market is. Ideally, it also reveals the key to mastering the hidden job market. The key to mastering the hidden job market is to figure out a way to get yourself as a job-seeker within a hiring manager’s sticky network of contacts, so that you can be a name on his or her Rolodex and not a name on a resume that gets quickly tossed out. We’ll discuss the best ways to go about doing this. But first, let’s describe a little more what this hidden job market is all about and, specifically, what kind of jobs are found within it. What Kind of Jobs are Found in the Hidden Job Market? Some people think that word-of-mouth hiring, and even networking in general, is the exclusive purview of executive, high-income, white collar positions. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, high-level executive positions are hardly ever publicly advertised and, yes, their hiring methods rely almost exclusively on industry contacts. But, hiring through networking is not in any way, shape or form limited to high-income, white collar positions. Indeed, almost every type of industry and every type of position incorporates networking to find suitable job candidates, thereby creating and expanding upon the hidden job market. Thus, every type of job-seeker should be aware of the hidden job market and should make it their purpose to tap into it and dominate it. And if there’s one thing that hinders this purpose of the job-seeker to tap into and dominate the hidden market more than anything else, it’s the trend for job- Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 5
  8. 8. seekers to rely far too heavily, sometimes to the point of exclusively, on online public job listings in their search for a new position. Let’s get into that now. The Pitfalls of Relying Solely on Large, Public Job Boards Many of us have been there and many of us have endured the pain and frustration – we comb through pages and pages of public job listings, send out forty, fifty resumes a day, and what do we get in return for all that sweat and hard work? One interview, maybe two if we’re lucky. And to positions we’re probably not even that attracted to. Deep in our gut we know something fundamental is going wrong; deep in our gut we know a force within the hiring system, widespread and powerful, is working against us. And if you’ve read this far in the guide, you now know exactly what that force is – it’s the hidden job market. It’s the fact that all those resumes being sent out are, more likely than not, being sent to dead ears; all those resumes are being sent to managers who are paying more attention to their network of contacts than to the flood of resumes landing on their desks. Now let’s pause for a moment. It must be made clear that the intention of this guide is not to make large, public job boards appear completely useless or a waste of time for the job-seeker. Indeed, large public boards, like those found in and, do have job postings that can lead to real jobs and do have a place in a job-seeker’s box of tools. The problem lies in how to best and most effectively use them. More specifically, the problem lies when a job-seeker relies on public job postings as his or her sole resource for finding potential opportunities. Indeed, many job placement professionals recommend that job-seekers should only spend 20% of their time answering and submitting resumes to publicly posted positions; in Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 6
  9. 9. fact, some professionals recommend that only 10% of a candidate’s time should be spent on public job boards. Also, a more discerning selection must be made in deciding which public job boards to focus on. It should be known that when employers do publicly advertise their employment needs, they often advertise on smaller online job boards that are free and cater to their specific industry. So, try to research if your specific field of interest has these smaller online job boards. And if they do, comb through their listings on a regular basis. Additionally, try another online resource that is not quite as well-known as national job boards – namely, .jobs boards. .jobs boards are job boards that advertise postings created mostly by recruiters for large companies. The .jobs boards are divided based on industry. Type in a description of your industry, say finance or marketing or sales, followed by .jobs and you’ll be able to access the job listings for your industry (to wit, type in for finance positions, for marketing positions or for sales positions). What’s great about these .jobs boards is that they’re not quite as well-known in the job market world, which means less competition for you. Additionally, members of these boards are guaranteed to be real, live recruiters or hiring managers; therefore, there are postings of real, live positions. But, to reiterate – only 10% to 20% of your time should be spent scouring online resources and sending out resumes. The rest of your time should be spent navigating and becoming a “player” in the hidden job market. But, what exactly does that mean? Well, we brushed on the idea earlier – the idea that job-seekers must find every way possible to penetrate the hiring manager’s circle of contacts. Let’s now dig a little deeper and discuss how exactly to go about doing that. Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 7
  10. 10. How to Become a Player in the Hidden Job Market Hopefully by now you’re more anxious than ever to learn how to break into the hidden job market. Good thing, because we’re going to explain just that. Here, at its most fundamental level, is what breaking into and dominating the hidden job market is all about: it’s about using a combination of networking and direct contacts to penetrate into the networking circle of hiring managers. But, what does that really mean? Well, let’s delve a little deeper into this twoprong approach and see if we can start shaping a clear plan of action. Let’s start with the second prong of action, namely direct company contacts. Direct Company Contacts The idea of sitting behind your computer and sending out hundreds of resumes to managers you’ve never met and to companies you’ve never had contact with, you have to understand is the strategic opposite to not only this first prong of action, i.e. direct company contacts, but on a greater scale, is the strategic opposite to the entire philosophy behind becoming a player in the hidden market. Becoming a player in the hidden job market means becoming proactive – truly proactive – in your job search; and, above all, it means becoming social and people-oriented in your job search. And if you’ve put two and two together, you know what this means as far as this second course of action – it means contacting hiring companies directly and outside of the public job-posting-resume discourse. It even means contacting hiring companies before they are even hiring, before there is even a job to be had. Contacting companies directly is part of the deal if you want to be a player in the hidden job market. But, this beckons a more fundamental attitude or Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 8
  11. 11. perspective shift in your approach to searching for jobs. It means that rather than simply casting about looking for open, publicly-advertised positions, you must focus on a specific job field and even a specific set of companies that you’d like to work for. Heighten the focus of your job search in this way and you’ve taken one very large and fundamental step to cracking the hidden job market. Great, you’re probably thinking, but how do I go about contacting companies that I’d like to work for? How do I do it in a way that casts me in a favorable light and doesn’t make me come off as obtrusive? Well, let’s get into some of the strategies and best practice methods now. Okay, you now have an idea of not only what job field you would like direct your attention toward, you also have an initial list of companies that have attracted your interest. Good. The next step is to do a little research and gather some background information on these companies. What specifically is their line of business? Who are their competitors? What are their organizational goals, short-term and long-term? And, in your research, if you happen upon the contact information for the manager who manages the department of your interest, that is very helpful. Indeed, many times, especially in the case of large employers, companies will include a profile of their primary department managers, inclusive of photo, brief bio AND business email contact, so keep an eye out for that kind of contact information while conducting your research. If a company of interest is hiring, then send your resume directly to the hiring manager’s business email address, so as to bypass the company’s HR department, as well as its online job board. And when you do send your resume to the manager, make sure to include a cover letter that in one shape or form demonstrates the research you’ve done on the company. As a quick side note, here’s the great thing about sending your resume directly to a hiring manager – you know, almost without a doubt, that he or she will be Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 9
  12. 12. in receipt of your resume. If you submit your resume via the company’s online job board on the other hand, then it must first pass through the HR department before landing on the manager’s desk. And who knows what could happen with your resume in between the HR department and the manager’s office. Also, anytime a resume first lands with the HR department, it will undoubtedly be lumped in with hundreds of other resumes before being sent to the manager’s office, which means your resume will not get the attention it needs and deserves. Now if a company of interest is not hiring at the moment, that’s fine – that doesn’t mean you should stricken the company from your job search. Still try to get a hold of that manager in the department you’re interested in. Then, see if you can schedule an informational interview with that manager. If you are able to schedule an informational interview with the manager, the first thing you must remember is to NOT ask the manager about their hiring scheduling or if he or she will be hiring in the near future. Instead, pick the manager’s brain; ask for their advise on how to get a job in the industry or what their own history was as far as them getting to their current position. And remember – you researched the company beforehand, so if you can provide advise or suggestions that would help the manager’s business, by all means give it. The greater an impression you make, and obviously the more favorable that impression is, the better. After all, who knows – that manager may be hiring a month or two months down the road and may remember your meeting with him and may just give you a call to see if you’re available for a position. Or that manager may know a colleague at a different company who is currently hiring and may be kind enough to refer your name to that colleague. If that happens, then you can confidently claim to have not only penetrated the hidden job market, but have begun to dominate it as well. Hopefully, you can deduce from this section that the more industry people you know and the more companies that you contact, the more likely you are to tap into the hidden market and, thus, the more likely you are to find a position. Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 10
  13. 13. Which brings us to the next prong of action in successfully cracking the hidden market, one which is unmistakably the most important course of action – namely, getting out there and networking, networking and networking. Networking, Networking, Networking … Did We Mention Networking? We are a social people and the continual and complex exchange of managers dipping into the talent pool to pluck candidates and candidates offering up their talent and services is, at its heart, a social transaction. It makes sense, therefore, that the hiring manager will act socially and be more likely to choose someone he or she knows, or even someone he or she has briefly met, over some name on a sheet of paper. Similarly, it makes sense that a job-seeker should act socially and focus his or her efforts on the social side of his or her job search. But, what does that exactly mean? And what does successful networking entail for the job-seeker? Well, what a successful job search entails is getting out there and communicating your job search to as many people as you can. Now that does not mean walking down the street and stopping everyone you pass and telling them about your need for a job (although there are situations where someone has struck up a conversation with a stranger, say at a coffee shop, and have ended up with a new job in hand). But, more realistically, successful networking entails being focused, deliberate and, above all, expansive. We already discussed the idea of contacting companies of interest directly. That’s one prong of action. Now we must expand upon this by finding other means of contacting additional industry professionals. By doing this, we expand our own network of industry contacts, Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 11
  14. 14. thereby extending our reach into the hidden job market, thus giving us a greater chance to bump into one of those precious hidden jobs. But, what are the ways that we can expand our own network of industry contacts? Well, if you think about it and if you are creative enough, the number of ways are numerous. Let’s review some of the big ones now. Job Fairs Job fairs exist for the purpose of networking, and there’s a reason why they are still around – because they work. Fairs that cater to specific industries are particularly effective and should be sought out. After all, it’s here that you’ll meet many managers who are doing the hiring – all in one location, all at one time. In the world of networking, there’s nothing that beats job fairs as far as its combination of networking convenience and effectiveness. Alma Maters A degree from a good university provides more than just a strong education – it provides an excellent resource for expanding your network of industry contacts. Have a degree from a university? Excellent. Then take advantage of its network of alumni, a number of whom probably not only work in your industry, but may in fact be the hiring managers you’re looking to meet. So go to your university’s website and check out their alumni page. See if there’s an alumni network that you can join. Review that network for alumni who are in your location and in your industry and work to make contact with those individuals. LinkedIn LinkedIn is included here because it’s a particularly powerful online resource for expanding your industry network and, also, it’s one that many job-seekers Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 12
  15. 15. do not use to its full potential. Yes, LinkedIn connects you online with industry contacts; but, there’s other LinkedIn features that can help expand your online network to an even greater degree. One particularly powerful feature is the LinkedIn Groups feature. In LinkedIn’s Interests menu, select Groups, then see if LinkedIn has a group, or several groups, that pertain to your industry. Members of these groups are not only your fellow colleagues, but are more likely than not, hiring managers as well. Try to join these groups and then make it a point to contribute regularly to their online discussions. Offer advise, ask questions, and engage specific group members – do all this so that your profile can get as much exposure as possible. After all, if you happen to make a particularly insightful comment in a discussion that a hiring manager is following, he or she may just out check out your profile and then seek you out. Either way, joining these groups and taking part in their online conversations is an excellent way to expand your online network. Your Friends and Social Network Hopefully, by now you see a common purpose developing in all these varying avenues for expanding your network – that common purpose being the goal to communicate your job search to as many people as possible. And your social network should not be excluded from this effort. Just because you know a friend socially does not mean that he or she cannot assist in your job search efforts. So, don’t be afraid to tell your friends or friends of friends that you’re searching for a new position. They may know someone who is hiring, or they may know of one of those hidden jobs, and may be able to arrange an interview for you. Just remember – the worst thing you can do, the one specific thing that can truly damage the success of your job search, is to remain quiet about it. Now it must be repeated that the above-mentioned methods aren’t the only ways to expand your network of industry contacts. There are other methods Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 13
  16. 16. for sure, many other methods, and one part of being a successful job-seeker is to take the time to come up with other creative ways to expand your network. Here’s one more tip – sit down at some point and brainstorm other ways that you can meet people who can help you find a new position. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with. Conclusion The intention of this guide was to not only describe what the hidden job market is all about, but more importantly, to explain some of the major ways that you as a job-seeker can break into it and dominate it. If you were one of those job-seekers who has been sitting alone in a room sending out umpteen resumes a day, then hopefully this guide reoriented the focus of your job search toward expanding your network of contacts rather than responding to the latest job post. And even if you weren’t one of those types of job-seekers, even if you already knew how critical it is to be social in your job search and to increase your list of industry contacts, then hopefully this guide provided other ways to expand your network that you did not know before. Either way, just remember this – the hidden job market is not something you can avoid – it’s here and it’s here to stay, and the sooner you learn to tap into it and become a true hidden job market player, the sooner you’ll find your next job. Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 14
  17. 17. Guide to Finding & Dominating the Hidden Job Market 15