Crack the Hidden Job Market Fast
Sara in Montreal writes: “I know networking is a great way to crack the ‘hidden’ job market, but I’m having trouble connecting with people in my industry. Can you help?”
Sara, you’re not alone!
Here are four ways to access the hidden job market, by networking and other methods.
1) Start where you are.
If you’re currently employed, why not ask your manager about the possibility of creating a new job that suits you better? Or ask your co-workers to see if any job functions were created for them. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!
2) Apply directly to your dream employer.
This is so obvious that few people do it … which means less competition for you.
First, identify five or six companies you’d like to work for and call each to get the name and mailing address of the person who hires people like you.
Then, research these firms online. Familiarize yourself with their products, markets and competitors. Most importantly, try to come up with at least one suggestion for how your target companies can increase revenues or solve a problem.
Next, send a personalized letter and resume to each employer. Follow up with another letter or an e-mail if you don’t hear anything in 7-10 days. Don’t give up until you get a definite answer!
3) Leverage your personal network.
This is still the most effective (and under-used) job search technique, in my view.
If your network is smaller than you’d like, think of it as a yeast cell, with the power to expand from its tiny origin until it produces something wonderful. In this case, a new job!
Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job. Call or e-mail every single person in your address book. Here’s the magic question — at the end of every conversation, ask: “Do you know anyone else I should be talking to?” This is how you expand your network by leaps and bounds.
Eventually, someone should be able to put you in touch with a decision maker who can hire you.
Even former employers can help. If you parted on good terms with your last boss, he or she might be able to refer you to hiring managers in other companies.
4) Network with other job hunters.
Many cities have job clubs or support groups where people can meet, network and share tips. Don’t forget the Internet — there are loads of great Web sites with message boards and chat rooms devoted to networking.