5 Tips to Access the Hidden Job Market

By: Bill Zhou


Did you know that as many as 80% of all available jobs are never advertised? That staggering number is one of the biggest obstacles that job seekers face when searching for employment. Understanding how to access this hidden job market can give you an advantage over your competition.

Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1.Network. Network. Network. The most important first step in accessing the hidden job market is to network. Get out there and talk to anyone and everyone who may be able to give you insight into where there are jobs.

Start by making a list of everyone you can talk to. These people do not have to be friends, or even acquaintances, just anyone with whom you have enough of a common thread to initiate a conversation. Great potential networking contacts include friends, acquaintances, neighbors, relatives, church members, classmates, teachers, club members, employers, supervisors, colleagues, subordinates, clients, customers and fellow association members.

Help these people to help you by making it easy for them. Instead of asking specifically if they know of any job openings, ask them for tips, leads and suggestions. If they know of a job, they'll be sure to mention it. If not, the information and contacts you gain can be invaluable.

2.Research potential employers. Since you'll be applying for a job without seeing a job description, it's important to research the company to find out as much as you can about the tasks, skills, and experiences they may be looking for. This will help you to write a resume and cover letter that is relevant to their organization.

Staying focused on a specific industry or position will make the task of researching companies much easier. Starting with too broad of a scope can be overwhelming and you may find you never get around to actually contacting any companies.

3.Learn how to sell yourself. When a company has not requested resumes for a specific position it can be difficult to get the attention of the key decision maker. After researching potential employers you should have a better understanding of what they're looking for. Use this information to sell yourself.

Do this by answering the question "why should this employer hire me?" Be specific and creative when you list all relevant experience, training and skills that will be of interest to them. Make sure your resume spells out your key selling points so that the employer is left with little doubt that you are a perfect fit for the organization. Even if they don't have a job available immediately, they'll most certainly keep your resume on file for future openings.

4.Get your resume to the right person. If your networking or company research produced the name of a person who is responsible for hiring then start by calling the company and verifying that person's name and contact information. If you don't know of a specific contact at the company, call and ask for someone by title. For example you might say, "I need to write a letter to your head of accounting. May I know his or her name, please?" If you can't think of anyone at all, ask for the president. It's unlikely you'll get through to him or her, but the secretary can point you in the right direction.

Once you have a person's name you can send a personalized cover letter and resume. In the letter, be sure to state exactly what kind of job you're looking for. Simply saying that you're looking for any available position does not make you come across as a good candidate.

End your letter by telling them you'll be calling them within 48 hours. Don't leave them waiting too long to hear from you or you'll be forgotten.

5.Don't take "no" for an answer. It's rarely easy to get the attention of decision makers in a company. Even once you know the proper person to contact, you still have the task of getting your resume into his or her hands. In this situation persistence really does pay off, so stick with it.

The key to getting through to them is to anticipate what problems you may encounter and have a plan for how you'll deal with them. Some of the most common problems you're likely to face are:

·Gatekeepers: These are the secretaries and assistants whose job is to keep you away from the decision maker. Get around them by calling at least once a day until you reach the decision maker directly. You can also try calling after hours or at lunch time.

·Voicemail: Leave a message with the specifics of why you're calling and your contact information. Then end the call by saying that you'll call them back and when. This is a good introduction for when you are able to get them on the phone.

·Objections: When you do get through to the decision maker you may be met with a series of objections. "We're not hiring" or "I'm too busy right now" are common, so expect to hear them. Usually reassuring them that you will only take a moment of their time and then quickly stating your reason for calling is the best approach.

© 2006 Bill Zhou. All rights reserved. About the Author: Bill Zhou is the founder of CareerCube.net, an online community with experienced career experts dedicated to helping career-minded individuals. For professional advice on resume writing, interview strategies and finding the perfect career, visit http://www.careercube.net