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  • Writer's pictureLori A. Jazvac, MRW

Reevaluate Your Job Search Strategy in 2020: Think Outside the Box & Take Action

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

Jobseekers, if you are not leveraging the "hidden job market" in your job search, then you could very well be missing out on meaningful opportunities. Spending all your time on online job boards is actually a common job search mistake. Are you establishing trusted connections? Otherwise, this could attribute to the reason why you are failing to see concrete results.

But there is good news: If your job search is not working for you, you can access the hidden job market using a few simple, yet strategic techniques. Read more to find out how this process works and how you can turn your job search around.

Many companies do not publicly post a job opening because:

• The cost of advertising an open position can be substantial.

• Employers would rather avoid being overwhelmed with applications.

• A new role might be created and the employer might be uncertain of the qualifications of the ideal candidate.

• They are replacing an existing employee unaware that he/she is being replaced.

What is the significance of accessing the hidden job market?

1. Most of these job opportunities are accessed through referrals from current employees of the company.

Sixty to eighty per cent of jobs are found through networking -- they are not even advertised online. Not all of the jobs found through networking involve accessing the hidden job market. After all, your friends/family/acquaintance network can help you secure interviews for advertised opportunities too. Yet, almost all candidates who obtain interviews for unadvertised jobs do so through networking.

2. Current employees can be an excellent source of candidates for these reasons:

A. If the company has a strong workplace culture, having existing employees identify prospective candidates can ensure that solid candidates are encouraged to apply. Did you know that some companies even reward employees — with cash or gift cards — for recommending a candidate who is eventually hired?

B. Employee referrals benefit the jobseeker favourably too as employee recommendations often carry great weight. This means less competition for job opportunities accessed through the hidden job market than for openly advertised opportunities.

C. Being referred by a current employee can set your application apart from the typical internal processes that most jobseekers need to navigate — such as an applicant tracking system for online applications.

3. Recruiters are another source of unadvertised positions.

An employer may choose to work with a recruiter to fill a job rather than advertise it publicly. The recruiter sources qualified job candidates, screens prospective hires, and sends the hiring manager handpicked candidates. This saves the company time, money, and stress.

Usually, when working with a third-party recruiter, the company only pays the recruiter if a candidate is hired, and only if he or she stays for a specified period of time (for example, six months).

So how do you tap into the hidden job market?

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.


• 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.

In the meantime, challenge yourself to access the hidden job market by taking a few action steps that will propel your job search further. Start by taking accountability for your job search. Own today and fully commit to elevating your job search!

* Make a list of all of your existing offline connections (your holiday card or Christmas card list can be a good source to start).

* Get more involved on LinkedIn. Focus on adding 2-3 new connections each week, including recruiters in your industry. Participate in Groups, and like and comment on posts. This can take as little as 5-10 minutes each day.

* Create a target company list. Write out a list of employers you’d like to work for. Then, focus on identifying anyone you know who currently works for that company.

* Commit to reading the Business section of your local newspaper and any local business journals weekly to look for companies in hiring mode.

* Get involved — whether online or “in real life,” visibility is important. Engage with groups, organizations, and associations by volunteering and participating in activities and events. This could lead to being exposed to valuable leads or even your next job!

The bottom line: If you are stumped by how to search for work to derive tangible results, simply expand your horizons by tackling the hidden job market. Take the first step and commit to integrating a networking approach.
Check out my Job Search Resources Vault and download "Your Guide to Accessing the Hidden Job Market."

Accessing the hidden job market involves thinking creatively, yet critically, being proactive in establishing meaningful connections, and taking strategic action.
This year, think differently about how you approach your job search and treat your job search like a brand marketing campaign. Think outside the box. Yes, this method works!

Think creatively and visualize a new career horizon!

Lori Jazvac is an award-winning Master Resume Writer/Certified Career Transition Coach and Certified Hidden Job Market Coach. Lori is the Founder of Creative Horizons Communications, a trusted holistic career services provider in Halton serving jobseekers globally to embrace their next career milestone.

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