As we conclude our series, here are even more specific tips for jobseekers looking to tap into the hidden job market:
Make it easy to be found. Another angle to accessing the hidden job market is being approached directly about an unadvertised opportunity. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and make yourself visible by participating in industry activities, speaking and writing (when possible), and positioning yourself as a thought leader.
Be active on social media. Follow employers you are interested in and engage them thoughtfully — liking and commenting on status updates and participating in online conversations with the brand itself or key employees. Share articles and insights about your industry. Follow and interact with key influencers in the industry using social media.
Join online groups in your industry. While LinkedIn Groups have diminished in influence over the years, they still remain a good way to connect with colleagues. (Did you know that you can send a LinkedIn connection request to a fellow Group member without having to know their email address?) Plus, being active in Groups can make you more visible to recruiters in your industry.
Join other online groups. Industry groups are the most logical choice for growing your network, but really any online groups can help you connect with others who may be able to help in your job search. This can include groups focused on your hobbies and interests as well as school alumni groups (not just college, but high school too).
Get involved in associations and activities in your industry. Participate in professional association activities and build rapport with colleagues. Attend conferences and industry events. These are an opportunity to meet hiring managers and decision-makers at your target companies. The wider your network, the more opportunities to access the hidden job market.
Another source of networking connections may be your university’s alumni association. If you are looking for a connection at a target company, see if the alumni association knows of one, or peruse the bios of company employees or leadership and see if you have a school in common. Looking at a company’s profile on LinkedIn may also potentially help you find alumni connections.
Remember, exploring the hidden job market is just one possible way to connect with your dream job. It’s a strategy that can pay off handsomely but will often take longer than simply identifying advertised openings and applying. However, you will likely find there is less competition for the job opportunity, and if you are using an “inside source” — either a current employee or an internal recruiter — your likelihood of landing an interview can be higher than seeking out a traditionally advertised opening.
- Make a list of all of your existing offline connections (your holiday card or Christmas card list can be a good source to start).
- Get more involved on LinkedIn. Focus on adding 2-3 new connections each week, including recruiters in your industry. Participate in Groups and like and comment on posts. This can take as little as 5-10 minutes each day.
- Write out a list of employers you’d like to work for. This is your target company list. Next, focus on identifying anyone you know who currently works for that company.
- Commit to reading the Business section of your local newspaper and any local business journals weekly to look for companies in hiring mode.
- Get involved — whether online or “in real life,” visibility is important. Engage with groups, organizations, and associations by volunteering and participating in activities and events.