5 Tips To Tap Into The “Hidden” Job Market (Not Including LinkedIn)

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Discover the secrets in tapping the "hidden" job market that don't include LinkedIn.

According to employment agent Fred Coon, about 80 to 85 percent of jobs are “hidden” or are not listed in most online job boards.

It seems unfair, but there are a couple of good reasons why managers would refuse to post a job ad when they are clearly hiring.

They may be reserving that position for someone within their organization, or perhaps they want to scope out talent first before deciding on promoting the job offer.

Either way, both job applicants and career shifters should take advantage of this secret goldmine of opportunity.

But how? Go to LinkedIn maybe? Network like crazy?

That could work except that LinkedIn has fewer monthly active members than its more popular social media counterparts. It’s not that you shouldn’t use this platform. It’s just that when it comes to tapping into hidden job markets, it’s best to move your efforts offline where you’d be most visible.

Here are five tips to get you started.

Related Article:Not Just LinkedIn: How to Brand Yourself Online When Job Hunting

1. Have Lunch With Friends

When was the last time you went out with a good friend for a real meal? Sure, a girls’ or boys’ night out is fun but that’s not exactly a good avenue for work-related conversations. Road trips are nice, too. But you’d be more focused on having fun than unearthing concealed jobs. Look for more intimate, quiet moments if you want to uncover hidden job opportunities. Often, people would be more open to it given the right environment.

2. Get in Touch With Old Friends And/or Coworkers

Your college professors, that coworker from the other cubicle, childhood friends from your hometown: these could be important people in your career if you give them the chance. Burning bridges may have worked for your romantic relationships but for the sake of success, be exceptionally picky about the bridges you destroy these days.

3. Promote Some of Your Work Online

Do you like to blog? Do you have an online portfolio for your photography hobby? Have you been uploading cooking tutorials on YouTube during your free time? Showcasing your skills online is not only a great way to build a loyal following, it’s also an amazing trick to get on the radar of hiring managers. What better way to convince someone that you’re perfect for a role than to let them see samples of your work?

Most Snapchat artists like Shaun McBride, Dasha Battelle, and Chris Carmichael became hits this way. At first, they were simply doing what they love. Until people started noticing. Pretty soon, they have thousands to millions of followers that brands just couldn’t ignore them anymore.

People have the habit of going by different names or aliases online. Several of your followers could be an employee or executive of your target company. You never know. The point is this: if you don’t have an online portfolio yet, it’s never too late to make one. For those that do, make sure you keep it fresh and updated.

Also, don’t forget to connect with your fans or followers. Reply to their comments, answer questions, and be genuinely nice. You never know who could be hiding amongst those Likes or reTweets.

Related Article:Become a Top-Tier Candidate: How to Search For a Job Like a Pro

4. Attend Extra Courses or Seminars

Just because you graduated or you currently have a job you love doesn’t mean education has to stop. There are plenty of benefits to seeking additional knowledge well beyond college. Aside from meeting new people, continued education and/or attending seminars help increase your chances at promotion. Plus, it arms with the necessary skills once you decide on a career change.

Employers who offer courses or seminars boost employee retention and improve company morale. It’s a worthy investment because workers that receive continued training or education are happier, more productive employees. This, in turn, decreases turnover, saving them money in the long run. Don’t forget to bring your business cards every time you attend these events. You may also carry a sample of your work (perhaps your personal website bookmarked on your tablet, or an electronic portfolio) just in case.

5. Sign Up for a Trial Run

Most companies are more than ready to accept new hires but they still want to scope out the talent. Thus, this may hinder them from immediately posting a job ad. But you can ensure that you’re first in line by signing up for a test drive of your expertise.

If you have a target company in mind, you can approach their HR department and ask if they are offering paid internships or trial periods. Companies like Joor, Weebly, and Entelo, are just a few businesses that are already seeing a major difference with this strategy. Sometimes called “temp-to-perm”, these trial periods are perfect for fresh graduates OR workers looking to shift careers but don’t have the right skills yet.

These arrangements technically should not last more than 90 days, and both parties should have a formal agreement in writing. If all goes well, the employer may decide to keep you as a new hire. On the other hand, if you discover that you don’t like the job after all, or you don’t see yourself fulfilling the role effectively, you’ll have no qualms rejecting the offer.

Just don’t forget to understand all details before signing anything and you should find your dream job before it’s offered to anyone else.

Related Article:7 Strategic Habits of Highly Successful Job Seekers

Extra Tricks to Discover Hidden Job Opportunities

When it comes to the hidden job market, there are two things that you need to remember: always keep your resume updated and take care of your online reputation. You never know when an opportunity will present itself. Aside from improving your profile on LinkedIn, sign up for Google Alerts to get instant notifications about the industry you’re interested in. Just enter the keywords of the job you’re looking for, and assign the frequency at which they will be sent to your inbox.

In this connected world, sometimes, you need to step out of the Web in order to stand out. Keep your eyes and ears open: there’s a secret goldmine out there that’s just waiting to be discovered.

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