Past Issues

January 15, 2018

5 Ways to Uncover the Hidden Job Market

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5 Ways to Uncover the Hidden Job Market

By Marcelle Yeager, Certified Resume Writer, CEO of Career Valet

Some refer to jobs that are not posted as the "hidden job market." These are opportunities that are not widely advertised on a company's website or social media. So how can you find such openings if they're not readily available? It takes some work but could be well worth your while since the majority of jobs are secured through people you know. There are several ways to go about it.

1. Connect with in-house recruiters. Where do in-house recruiters hang out every single day? LinkedIn! Search for recruiters at the companies you want to target and follow them, or even better, ask them to connect. Send a personal note that describes briefly who you are and why you want to connect. Once you make the connection, you can ask if you can send them your resume for review via email. Not only does that make it easy for them to quickly respond with their email address, they can easily forward and share it with other recruiters as well as upload it into the company's applicant tracking system for future candidate searches.

2. Connect with decision-makers. If you find you're not having luck with in-house recruiters at your target companies, find a way to reach the decision-makers in the appropriate department where you think you'd fit. You can try writing them if you have connections in common and mention these links, or you can find a way to meet them in person. If you do write them, be creative: avoid cliches and be specific. Tell them why you are attracted to their company and how you think you can help based on a problem you solved in your current or a past job.

3. Connect with external headhunters. In order to find external headhunters who are always searching for good opportunities and candidates to fill them, ask friends or colleagues in your industry who have changed jobs if they know anyone worth introducing you to. Also, search Google and LinkedIn for local headhunters who make placements in your field and contact them. While they may not have any immediate opportunities, this is another set of eyes on jobs that you may never see or hear about on your own.

4. Attend events with recruiters and decision-makers in your industry. Emails simply cannot replace meeting people face to face. Go to industry events where recruiters and decision-makers hang out. Practice your elevator pitch beforehand and bring your business cards. Don't go full professional conversation on people immediately - ease into your chat by making it personal. For example, ask where the person went to school, what they do on the weekend or what book they are reading to see what you might have in common and develop a relationship from there.

5. Tap into common connections you may be neglecting. People often forget about one of the benefits of attending college - the network. You may have networks of thousands to tap into from undergraduate and graduate schools. Many have online career databases and others have Facebook and LinkedIn groups of alumni. Don't limit your search to people who graduated in your year. The camaraderie many will feel with you simply by nature of having gone to the same school is enough. When you get in contact to introduce yourself, tell the person why you are writing and ask if she would be willing to have a brief chat over the phone or email about her career path. In other words, don't immediately make it about you, and you'll be more likely to receive a response.

Once you begin making contact with recruiters and headhunters, make sure to always respond to their emails and accept InMails on LinkedIn. While it may not be an opportunity you're interested in, reply to their note to say what types of opportunities are better suited for you in the hopes that they'll get in touch in the future with positions that fit your criteria. If you don't respond, you're likely to close the door with that person which won't help you at all down the road, so think long term and keep the conversation going.

Marcelle Yeager, Certified Resume Writer, founded and runs a professional consultancy called Serving Talent. Marcelle spent 10 years in strategic communications working for the private sector and federal government in the U.S. and Russia before starting her resume writing and coaching business. She's passionate about helping her clients and foreign service and military spouses advance in their careers. Marcelle holds an MBA from the University of Maryland and a BA from Georgetown University.

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