Here are some specific tips for jobseekers looking to tap into the hidden job market:
Let your network know you are looking for a new position. While this can be difficult if you are conducting a confidential job search, it’s important that the people you know think of you when an opening comes up.
Following the advice of author Harvey Mackey, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” Having a large network of contacts pays off when it’s time to look for a new job — particularly when you want to tap into the hidden job market. Keep in touch with your former colleagues and bosses. Build your LinkedIn network by connecting with people in your field — but also by adding folks you know from everyday life — the other parents you sit with at your child’s karate dojo, the members of your recreational softball team, your neighbors, etc. All of these can potentially help you tap into the hidden job market.
Help others. “Give to get.” Zig Ziglar famously said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Keep your ears open about unadvertised openings and help connect those in your network to these opportunities. This type of assistance is often reciprocated. Cultivate relationships with peers in the industry. These connections at other companies can pay off.
If there is a particular employer you are interested in working for, consider approaching the company directly. When approaching a target employer directly, research the hiring manager and see if there is a mutual connection you can approach to make the introduction. Focus on expanding your network until you connect with someone who works there. Ask him or her to keep you in mind for unadvertised opportunities — or even pass along your résumé right away, even if there isn’t currently an opening.
While you are logged into your LinkedIn account, go to the company page and see if you have any existing connections with current or former employees:
Identify companies in growth mode. Read your local business journal or the Business section of your local newspaper to find out which companies are growing. You’ll find announcements of new contracts, large office leases, and similar news in local publications or by setting up a targeted Google News alert.
Look on LinkedIn for recruiters who work at your target employer. Some companies recruit primarily through in-house recruiters (recruiters who are company employees). Connecting with these individuals can be an excellent way to access the hidden job market.
While you are logged into your LinkedIn account, do a search for recruiter + [company name]:
Connect with 2-3 recruiters in your industry or specialty. You may even be able to find out if the company uses a specific outside recruiter or agency for its searches. (Your network may be able to help you find this information, or you can contact the company directly to ask.) Having these extra eyes and ears looking out for opportunities can be a valuable asset in your job search.
Next week we will complete our series with even more ways you can capture attention.