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8 Ways To Gain Access to The Hidden Job Market (With Examples)

There comes a point in a job seeker’s search for the perfect position that they wonder if they’re missing something. They’ve been spending their days on job board websites like it’s a full-time position, yet still left empty-handed when it comes to job offers or even interview requests. They begin to worry that the viable opportunities for positions in their industry have run dry. When you’ve reached this level of dysphoria with your search through traditional channels, it might be time to consider the hidden job market.

What Is the Hidden Job Market? Many people looking to land their next job imagine employers in their field posting every open position in their company across the internet, stating job openings loudly for the world to hear in the hopes of casting out a net that brings on the best applicants. Unfortunately for these jobseekers, this isn’t always the hiring process when it comes to competitive positions. This is the concept of the hidden job market. The hidden job market is a term coined to describe jobs that aren’t explicitly published on job boards for applicants to easily find. The opportunities are instead accessed through a candidate’s professional network or a company recruiter.

Jobs Near You 3 Reasons Why Employers Turn to the Hidden Job Market At first glance, candidates often wonder why an organization would choose not to list their job opportunities online to bring in applicants. However, there are a few key reasons why employers choose to utilize the hidden job market instead of the open one. Below are three common reasons for keeping positions confined to the hidden job market.

  1. It’s less time-consuming and cheaper. When a company posts about an open position online, it kickstarts a long and expensive process. Hiring a person takes a great deal of consideration. When an organization receives hundreds of applications because they posted about the opportunity on a job board, it only lengthens the process more. To avoid paying for their recent hires with money and time, many companies choose to keep their open positions exclusive to the hidden job market.

  2. It accounts for the company’s public relations. A corporation’s public image is a factor that needs to be taken into account. Some companies prefer that their open positions and periods of hiring aren’t public knowledge. In this case, relying on the hidden job market keeps this information under wraps.

  3. Attracts applicants with more experience. Putting out an open job posting online brings an influx of applicants who might not be suitable for the role because they lack experience. When the job remains on the hidden job market, the only candidates who can access the opportunity are the ones who have professional connections in the industry. This generally means that the applicant pool is more experienced and skilled in their occupation.

8 Ways to Gain Access to The Hidden Job Market As an applicant, the idea of an undisclosed job market that awards professional opportunities with less competition sounds too good to be true. While the hidden job market does exist, it isn’t a cakewalk to access. Candidates need to put in some effort after becoming aware of it.

If you’re interested in gaining access to positions on the infamous hidden job market, consider the following 8 ways to crack it open:

1. Create an online presence on professional networking websites and social media to attract recruiters. The most common way to get involved in the hidden job market is by strengthening your professional network. In the modern age, that means through profiles on networking websites and social media. Your accounts on LinkedIn and Instagram should be regularly updated to include accurate and appealing information. The opportunities on the hidden job market are available because there isn’t an onslaught of applicants reaching out to the company with a resume in hand. Instead, these job openings are mostly filled by contacting potential candidates through these social networking websites. Ensure that your profile demonstrates professional and accurate information. Examples of networking websites to build a presence on include:

  • LinkedIn

  • Meetup

  • Twitter

  • Slack

  • Facebook Groups

2. Turn to your alma mater’s alumni association. The college that you went to can be an asset in more ways than just possessing a degree. Utilize your school’s alumni association to get access to the hidden job market. It may seem like you don’t have much in common with alumni members besides attending the same university, but they could provide the key to unlock more open jobs in your professional field. Get familiar with these people. Even if you don’t live anywhere near your alma mater, you can still get in touch with alumni through online groups and the college’s website. These initial interactions might blossom into a lucrative professional connection.

3. Stay up-to-date with news about potential employers. One of the best ways to access the hidden job market is by following news about employers you could see yourself working for. There’s probably a list that pops into your mind when you think about which companies you’d love to work for in your industry. Be an active observer of their business to increase the chances that you’ll stumble upon an exclusive job opportunity. Many positions that aren’t posted on jobs boards are still subtly disclosed through the company’s news. In addition to researching the company’s information, sign up to receive alerts when news breaks about the organization. This allows you to be one of the first applicants when the news breaks about an open position in your field.

4. Attend industry conferences or trade shows. While there are many chances to network into the hidden job market online, there’s also an abundance of methods to do it in person. If you prefer building professional relationships in person, then attending relevant conferences and trade shows could be your ticket into the hidden job market. Conferences are an excellent option for building long-lasting connections that could lead to job offers because it allows candidates to interact with business connections face-to-face. While these types of events can often be expensive for attendees, there are cheaper options for everyone. For example, you could volunteer to gain entrance to a costly industry conference or attend a free professional meetup that’s relevant to your field.

Examples of websites to find professional meetup events include:

  • Meetup

  • LinkedIn Events

  • Mediabistro

  • NetParty

5. Keep in contact with former co-workers and professional connections. After leaving a job many professionals let the connections they built while working there slip to the wayside. Try to avoid doing this when you depart from a position because these professional relationships can be very valuable down the line. Your co-workers and other connections work in the same field and could know of a job that suits your background perfectly in the future. However, if you haven’t spoken in years then they probably won’t be reaching out to offer the opportunity.

6. Join a job-hunting discussion group. A lot of social media websites allow for targeted groups to be established for users who have similar interests. A popular series of groups are for job-hunting discussion. These discussion groups bring together jobseekers for the common purpose of growing their networking and becoming aware of opportunities in the hidden job market. Joining a few discussion groups that are relevant to your field increases your chances of finding a job that hasn’t been posted directly online.

7. Look for opportunities at your current company. People who are just putting feelers out for new opportunities in the hidden job market, but haven’t left their position yet, could look for openings with their current employer. Oftentimes, companies choose to take the road of the hidden job market specifically because they want to hire a candidate that already works for their organization. It requires a less dramatic transition if you’re hired for the position because you’re already familiar with the company’s standards and expectations. Perhaps one of the best chances to uncover the openings in the hidden job market is by searching for opportunities within the company you currently work for.

8. Reach out to companies that you want to work for. When all else fails, there is one resort left to gain entrance into the hidden market and all the secret job openings it holds. This is done by reaching out directly to the companies that you want to work for. Cold-calling for potential job openings sends a shiver of nerves up the spines of people who have never done it before, but it can be highly rewarding. Before you contact an organization directly to ask about their open positions, do the proper research first. Comb through the job vacancies on their website and read up on the company’s background and values. Be prepared and thorough when you’re reaching out to a potential employer directly. The goal is to make the best impression, even if it’s out of the blue. While it can make newcomers a little uncomfortable to unsolicitedly reach out to companies with your resume at first, it’s actually one of the most effective ways to find out about unpublished job opportunities.

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