The “hidden job market” is a phrase that describes job openings that are not publicly advertised. So how do you tap into the hidden job market?

Here are some specific tips for tapping into the hidden job market:

  • Let your network know you are looking for a new position. While this can be difficult if you are conducting a confidential job search, it’s important that the people you know think of you when an opening comes up.
  • Following the advice of author Harvey Mackey, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” Build your LinkedIn network by connecting with people in your field and colleagues—but also add people you know from everyday life.
  • Help others. Cultivate relationships with peers in the industry. These connections at other companies can pay off.
  • Consider approaching the company directly. When approaching a target employer directly, focus on expanding your network until you connect with someone who works there. Ask them to keep you in mind for unadvertised opportunities, or pass along your résumé right away.
  • Identify companies in growth mode. You’ll find announcements of new contracts, large office leases, and similar news in local publications or by setting up a targeted Google News alert.
  • Look on LinkedIn for recruiters who work at your target employer. Some companies recruit primarily through in-house recruiters (recruiters who are company employees). Connecting with these individuals can be an excellent way to access the hidden job market.
  • Connect with 2-3 recruiters in your industry or specialty. Having these extra eyes and ears looking out for opportunities can be a valuable asset in your job search.
  • Make it easy to be found. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and make yourself visible by participating in industry activities, speaking and writing (when possible), and positioning yourself as a thought leader.
  • Be active on social media. Follow employers and key influencers you are interested in and engage them thoughtfully by participating in online conversations with the brand itself or key employees. Share articles and insights about your industry.
  • Join other online groups. Online groups can help you connect with others who may be able to help in your job search. This can include groups focused on your hobbies and interests as well as school alumni groups.
  • Get involved in associations and activities in your industry. Participate in professional association activities. These are an opportunity to meet hiring managers and decision-makers at your target companies.
  • Another source of networking connections maybe your university’s alumni association. If you are looking for a connection at a target company, see if the alumni association knows of one, or peruse the bios of company employees or leadership and see if you have a school in common.

Activation Actions!

  • 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.
  • Write out a list of employers you’d like to work for. This is your target company list. Next, 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.
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A big dreamer as well as a big do-er, Madelyn draws on her experience of successfully navigating three high-profile careers to provide the expert advice, encouragement, and step-by-step action plans you need to activate your career dreams.

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