The Hidden Job Market

Career experts estimate that there is large number of job openings that never make it on the job boards or news circulars but are successfully filled by word of mouth. These jobs are known as ‘The hidden job market’. The only way to access this valuable resource is to be ‘in the loop’ of the word of mouth circles, which is more commonly known as networking. In general the hidden job market tends to be rich with the kind of jobs that get you a corner office and a secretary, but even with this knowledge most job seekers fail to use networking to its full potential.

The perception of networking is that it’s hitting the phones and making yourself unpopular – and it can be – but it doesn’t have to be. Networking works best when the contact is natural and varied, so something as simple as ‘working the room’ at social and business functions can garner people that can help you tap into the hidden job market.

If you want a job, learn to strike up a conversation and talk to everyone – you never know where that golden contact is. It may not even be that contact that is golden, it may be his friend or co-worker that he introduces you too. It also may not be a person, it may be the inside knowledge you need to find the job that leads to success. Talk to family, friends, co-workers, industry contacts, trade shows and neighbors, not forgetting former co-workers, bosses or even teachers. There are no rules to who should be in your network.

If your want your network to succeed put in the necessary effort to make it work well. All it takes is time, but can land you the perfect job. Follow these steps to help you make the most of your networking skills.

1: Get organized. Make a database of names and contact details. Prioritize it if it is long, and break into industries or job positions if it helps you narrow down to your search.

2: Stay in contact. Choose the best medium for the contact, not you. If it’s a phone call – call! Don’t forget emails, or even holiday cards if it is a family friend or member. You want them to remember you when you ask for help.

3: Set a goal. How many new contacts do you want to make each week? Who do you want to contact? Why? Then fulfil your goals.

4: Get your resume in tip top form. The first thing they’ll ask for is a resume. Have more than one resume tailored to your strengths, or to the industry. Your contact won’t want to wait four hours whilst you write one up, if they want your resume they want it NOW and you’ll need to supply it to keep the momentum going.

5: Consider setting up an informal interview. The purpose is to get information, not a job, but this information will be invaluable as will the bond you build with an industry insider. Make sure you have a plan about what you want to know.

6: Never take your network for granted. Let them know how you are doing and what help you need. People love to help. Use that power in your job search. One of the biggest mistakes people make in using their network is not asking for help. A few contacts may fail when you are at this point, but they will be in the minority. If they do fail – they couldn’t help you anyway.

All it takes is time and motivation to tap into the rich resource of the hidden job market, so make the most of it. By organizing your time and your approach, you could soon be in that corner office with a little help from your friends.




5 Basic Job Hunting Skills That Will Never Go out of Style

In the last decade the focus of life seems to be centered around social media and the internet. Shopping, working and social life revolves around tweeting, posting and search engines, but if you are looking for a job there are some skills that will never go out of style – and will never be replaced digitally. As ‘old fashioned’ as they seem, avoid them at your peril, these skills speak volumes about you and your ethics.

These 5 basic job hunting skills are simple but very effective at saying ‘I care about your job’ and help you through to the next stage.

1: Dress to Impress.

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in – if you don’t dress to impress you’ll be remembered for all the wrong reasons. The clothes you wear to wander round the shops or mow the lawn are great for doing the chores but not for asking for a job. Well dressed and groomed doesn’t mean a suit and tie necessarily, but smart casual clothes and a clean appearance are needed. Bear in mind that most working environments are scent free when it comes to personal products, so be sensitive to their needs.

Don’t forget a firm handshake, plenty of eye contact and smile also dress to impress, so make sure you practice.

2: Don’t be a slave to technology.

One of the biggest assumptions that you can make is that your spell checker will catch all your mistakes – Wrong! Let me show you from some of the resumes I have seen:

One started, ‘Dear Sir or Madman’.

Another boasted, ‘Instrumental in ruining an entire operation for a Midwest chain store.’

One informed, ‘I am fluent in English and spinach’.

This one I couldn’t resist: ‘Directed $25 million anal shipping and receiving operations.’

Need I say more?

Copying and pasting also is something to be wary of. Changing a skill title then pasting the same description from earlier will not fool a recruiter. Make it perfect, make it personal.

3: Surmising

Bullet points work well in resume. A recruiter wants to see at a glance what value you have for the position. They want to know what impact you had in your last job, your capability and the results you achieved. IF they have 30 resumes to go through your more likely to be successful if you have concise, surmised information that tells them all they need quickly.

4: Cohesion

Your cover letter and your resume need to flow and well articulate who you are and what you have done. Random scraps of information say nothing – except you can’t produce a formal, informative document – or worse, you don’t care.

5: Follow up

The follow up is a big issue for a recruiter. They know if you’re motivated and skilled enough – you’ll call. They also know a follow up call means you understand that securing a job is about working effectively with a recruiter and building a relationship. Even an email will help build a bridge and open up communication to further your application.

Take the time to make sure you avoid these very easy pit falls and show the recruiter that the quality of your work is important to you, as well the opportunity with their firm. If you don’t – you might as well try and learn to speak fluent spinach.

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