Jobseeker’s Guide to Accessing the Hidden Job Market: Part II

Part 2 of a 4 part series. Part 1 here.

So how do you tap into the hidden job market? By having the right key. Because opportunities are filled both through employee referrals and recruiting, you will want to cover both bases.

Accessing the hidden job market works best when you have a clear target in mind — either a specific job title or, even better, a specific list of companies you’d like to work for.

There are basically three ways, or keys, to access the hidden job market:

•     Connect with someone at the company through your network (either an employee who can refer you or a hiring manager or a recruiter who works for the company).

•     Contact the company directly about exploring unadvertised opportunities.

•     Be visible enough in your industry or field to be contacted by a prospective employer.

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 resume right away, even if there isn’t currently an opening.