Job Hunting Help: Tapping Into the Hidden Job Market

For every employer who must downsize, there is an employer who needs to hire the right person for the right job. In any circumstance, businesses are always hiring someone that can make them profitable now!

“We have a hiring freeze,” does not mean they are not hiring. It means they are not increasing their headcount. Every year has 20-25% turnover, so in a 1,000-employee company, 200-250 people are going to turn over naturally. Those companies are still hiring but they may not tell you. In fact, 80% of jobs are not publicly advertised.

Networking is crucial for finding the hidden job market. Use your current network and the following contacts.

Contacts in the Hidden Job Market
• Companies you have interviewed with in the past. If you were close to getting a job there, go back and see if they have any current openings. They are glad to re-consider you.
• Previous managers and co-workers. They already know your worth, making easier to recommend you to others. If you are still employed, make sure they are individuals who honour that confidentiality.
• Members of organisations you were active in: fraternities, sororities, professional business associations, charity groups, fundraisers, athletic clubs, etc. In addition, contact their local sponsors. Find the employers, which in turn lead you to the jobs.
• Recruiters focused on your industry. Give them candidate referrals and they will help you in your job search. The nature of their work makes them an invaluable source of information and contacts.
• Business organisations in your field. Join them and more importantly, stay involved. Join committees, become a committee leader or get on the Board of Directors. You meet relevant people while creating a brand for yourself showing your commitment to your industry.
• Non-profit organisations, especially if you are in the private sector. They value talent from any industry to help with management, marketing, sales and consulting. Target organisations which support your passion or cause. Visit
• Government sector: the Peace Corps, the FBI, the security division or local government. They pay great benefits and pensions. Their pay scale and number of jobs has increased from the stimulus package. There will be sufficient jobs available until our economy gets stronger.
• Your own advisory board of mentors. Connect with a few individuals within your industry with whom you respect and can contact to guide you through your career.
• Companies that accept volunteers. They will appreciate your help. Act as you would if you were being interviewed; they are considering you as a future employee.
• International companies opening locations in your area. Building their staff with local talent saves them money (no relocation expenses). Applying directly with them also saves them recruiting costs. They also benefit from employees who know about the area and its market.

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