MORE ON CAREERADDICT

How to Break Into the Hidden Job Market

According to Nancy Collamer, a Forbes contributor, most jobs getting filled nowadays are not formally posted.  Howard Poplinger, the owner of human resource company Epic Development and Evaluation, estimates that 80% of jobs aren’t advertised these days. This shows that firms are relying heavily on their current employee networks or on local specialised job pools, to decrease the chance of hiring unqualified candidates. Employers tend to favour referrals coming from people that their employees trust. This tactic saves them time and money as they skip the screening of hundreds of applicants.

Given that a significant number of jobs are nowadays circulated internally in organisations; how can someone uncover these hidden opportunities? The following tips will outline a few powerful strategies to help you tap into the hidden job market by improving your networking skills, leveraging technology and expanding your reach.

1. Rethink the way you network

First of all, you have to make networking a way of life and an integral part of your normal routine. Do not just network only when you need a job, make networking a regular habit and stay in touch with former colleagues and always update your LinkedIn connections list by adding new members could help you find a job.

Remember the golden principle of networking: Give before you get. Networking is all about developing real two-way relationships, not just asking for favours. So forward articles and pass on job opportunities you deem will help people in advancing their careers.

Equally important is to make it easy for people to help you land a job. First, make yourself traceable and contactable. Second, when you touch base with a contact who helps you find a job, make sure you tell him about the kind of positions you are looking for and the employers or fields that interest you.

2. Reach out to companies directly

People rarely dare to reach out to hiring managers at places they would like to work unless they see positions advertised there. Be bold and knock the manager’s door. Email or call to introduce yourself and demonstrate your key selling point: How can your background and experience contribute valuably to the organisation? Make sure your pitch makes an impact so that you remain top of mind when positions open up.

Wonder how to find employers? Simply use LinkedIn to generate a list of target employers to contact in your area. Just conduct a People search on LinkedIn using your postal code and relevant keywords to get a list of LinkedIn profiles and from them, a list of employers who should know about you.

Another good strategy is to use one of your LinkedIn connections to introduce you to the decision maker. This way, you’re more likely to get your target’s attention if you get referred to him.

3. Sign up for Google News Alerts

Staying up-to-date with prospective employers is one of the best ways to learn about hidden jobs. Remain alert at all times and be the first to know when for example when an employer expands, teams up with another firm, leases additional office space etc – as these are signs that the organisation might soon be hiring.

Google News Alerts is a great tool to use to keep informed about company updates and news. Just type in which employers, industries or fields you are interested in hearing about. The next after receiving a Google Alert about a key executive at an employer where you’d like to work, is to ask for an interview.

4. Join local and professional networking groups

Career experts insist that there are ways to tap into a company’s network to find about openings, even if the positions are never announced publicly. Kathy Robinson, the founder of TurningPoint, a career consulting firm in greater Boston suggests that job seekers "dig deeper when thinking of connections" at choice companies. “Joining local networking groups for your profession or LinkedIn may uncover a connection to an employee at the company - such as sharing the same alma mater -- which could be the foot in the door you need” she adds.

Joining a company’s community online through Facebook, Twitter could help you unearth openings before they become available to the general public.

Alternatively, you can join a professional networking group where you can tap into your fellow job seekers’ knowledge regarding employers who are likely to hire.

5. Snoop around your company

If you enjoy working for your current employer but you don’t like your particular job, snoop around at work because a fantastic opportunity could await you in another department. As it was previously highlighted, internal candidates are more preferred over outside applicants when positions need to be filled.

Using these smart tips to unlock the hidden job market is a halfway step to landing a job opportunity otherwise hard to find. Truth be told, it isn’t easy to break into the hidden job market as it takes time and effort to get there. But with systematic networking tactics, touch basing directly with companies and using specific social media tools, you can access job opportunities that only you could take advantage of.