What is the Hidden Job Market?

What is the Hidden Job Market

The hidden job market refers to open jobs that companies don’t publicize or advertise. Not to be confused with phantom jobs, which look like authentic job postings but are merely a formality undertaken to comply with internal HR policies, hidden jobs are never even advertised.

Nobody can say for certain how many hidden jobs are in existence, but it could be in the millions according to some estimates.

If you’re a job seeker, then this can be quite frustrating. Hidden jobs represent an entire ocean of jobs that aren’t available to you! Why would a company not want anyone to know they had a job opening?

Why Would a Company Hide a Job?

Companies may decide to not advertise open positions in many cases because they prefer to offer jobs to internal candidates first. At least 50% of all job openings are filled by internal candidates. The other reason is that they rely on current employees to provide referrals. According to Forbes, employee referrals continue to be a leading source of top-quality talent for almost 9 in 10 employers.

When companies have this pool of talent at their fingertips why would they waste the time and money posting help wanted ads, sifting through resumes, interviewing, checking references, etc.?

However, just because these jobs are hidden doesn’t mean they aren’t available to you. You just need to work a little harder trying to find them.

How You Can Uncover the Hidden Job Market

What is the Hidden Job Market

Here are 8 tips to help you uncover the hidden job market. 

1. Always Be Networking

The first step in uncovering the hidden job market is to always be networking. Networking should be a habit you develop throughout your career, not just something you do whenever you need a job.

The first part of networking is simply staying in touch with colleagues by commenting on their LinkedIn posts, sending a friendly email, or calling them up on the phone. When you stay in contact with someone, it’s much easier to ask them for help with a job later on. Disappearing from someone’s network for months or years only to pop up when you need a favor will seem disingenuous. 

The second part of networking includes making new connections and expanding your professional circle. Here are a few ways you may meet other professionals.

  • Attend trade shows, conferences, alumni events, and career fairs.
  • Set up informational interviews with professionals in your industry or at companies you’d like to work for.
  • Join a professional organization and be an active member.
  • Go to professional seminars and lectures.
  • Take courses that will give you certifications that are valued in your industry.

2. Be More Social

One of the simplest and more fun ways to network is to be more social. Join a local softball or basketball team. Get involved in community events.

Look into joining a gardening club in your area or take an adult class that you’re interested in. The more social you are, the more likely you are to meet other professionals who may be able to help you out down the road.

3. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

What is the Hidden Job Market

With all of this networking you’re doing, you want to be sure you can deliver a flawless elevator pitch when someone does show interest, which is like answering the “tell me about yourself” interview question. Be able to summarize what you want in a career, what you have to offer, and a bit about your experience in about 60 seconds.

Don’t think you have to give this speech to everyone you come in contact with. Just look for an opening and put it out there. If the right person hears what you have to say, that could just be the first step toward a new job.

4. Click Subscribe

Subscribe to news alerts about the companies you want to work for via Google or LinkedIn. You may hear news of growth or expansion, which means they might be hiring. Or, you may get news that they’re starting an entirely new department and you have the skills they need.

Your in-depth knowledge of the company will also impress anyone you may interview with at that company down the line.

5. Volunteer

Look for opportunities to volunteer for organizations you might want to work for. This is especially relevant if you want to work for non-profit organizations. Non-profits usually hire from their pool of volunteers before looking externally.

Even if you can’t find a volunteer position in your dream company, consider volunteering at another organization that’s close to your heart anyway. You’ll be doing something good for the community and be opening yourself up to another opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.  

6. Give in Order to Get

What is the Hidden Job Market

If you want to get access to the hidden job market, then you should remember to help your friends and colleagues access the hidden job market as well. Let your colleagues know that they can contact you if they need an introduction to someone you know, or if they think you can connect them to an opportunity.

Also, pass along opportunities you think might be right for a colleague even if they aren’t actively looking. A quick email saying, “I saw this opportunity and thought of you” with a link to a job post will always be appreciated. They’ll be more likely to think of you when a job opportunity that matches your skill set comes their way.

7. Start Where You Are

If you’re interested in finding an internal position at your current company, then start asking about job opportunities in the area you’d like to work in. They may be planning for openings that they haven’t posted internally yet.

Ask a manager in the department for a 30-minute informational interview. During that time, you can express interest and find out what skills someone would need to be successful in the role.

Obviously, you want to do this discretely if you don’t want your boss to know you’re looking for a new position. On the other hand, if you have a trusting relationship with your boss and they support your job growth, then an open conversation about your interest in other roles could be helpful. They could even put in a good word for you with other managers in the company.

8. Make it Easy

What is the Hidden Job Market

Finally, when looking for hidden jobs, make it as easy as possible for colleagues and friends to help you. Tell them exactly what fields you are interested in and/or what type of job you’d like. It’s best to be as specific as possible.

Instead of saying, “I’d like a job as a dietician.” Say, “I’d like a job working in hospitals or nursing homes as a dietician, since I have more than 15 years in that field.”

Instead of saying, “I’m looking for a marketing position.” Say, “I’d like to find a job as a content marketing manager where I can lead up to 5 people in creating and executing the content marketing strategy of a mid-sized company.”

After the conversation, follow up with an e-mail summarizing those points.

Find the Hidden Job Market

Remember, “hidden job market” doesn’t mean “unattainable job market.” These jobs are all around you just waiting to be found. Use the tips above to uncover this treasure trove of job opportunities. You may be surprised at what you find.

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Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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