Whoever says the perfect job doesn’t exist has spent too much time looking at job boards! There is a whole world of hidden jobs out there known as the hidden job market… you’ll be amazed by what you can find if you know where to look.
As most of us have experienced, remote jobs listed on job boards are highly competitive. After all, practically anyone can apply for them! It’s easy to find yourself searching and emailing over and over again to no avail. And when you finally do get an interview, you don’t get the position.
This way of job hunting can really take forever and get you nowhere. That’s where the elusive hidden job market comes in handy!
The biggest problem with the hidden job market is right in the name: they’re hidden. So, where exactly are these hidden jobs, and how can you find them? That’s the question to tackle today!
Luckily, there are plenty of remote jobs available at companies of all sizes. Follow these tips, and you’ll have recruiters knocking at your virtual door to offer you your next job.
What is the Hidden Job Market?
The hidden job market is a term many people use to describe jobs that are not posted and those you cannot actively apply to. An astounding percentage of jobs are estimated to be a part of the hidden market. Estimates range from 40%-80%, but wherever you land, there’s a lot of untapped potential jobs out there!
Typically, these jobs are accessed through personal networks via word of mouth or through recruiters. Most employers believe they can get the best candidates from sourcing this way. By skipping the initial application of the hiring process, you can start in the middle with interviewing right away.
Networking: The Best Way to Access the Hidden Job Market
By far, the most important factor in accessing these hidden jobs comes from networking. I know—if you’re like many people, “networking” may be a word you hate to hear. However, I encourage you to try to challenge your definition of networking.
In reality, you’re already networking all the time. When you chat with your barista or fellow commuter, interact on Instagram, or talk to customers or suppliers, you’re building or strengthening your social networks.
At its simplest, networking consists of building relationships with everyone around you. You should continually be adding new contacts, not just when you’re looking for a new role. The more people you know, the better. Of course, you want to network with people “in the know,” but you never know who has the connections you’re looking for!
You can try to seek out people in positions you want or who work at companies you’re interested in. When reaching out, ask for advice and tell them what you’re looking for. Also, ask how you can help them because networking is a two-way street.
Not sure where to begin? A professional networking group is a great place to start. There are plenty of groups for every type of field, many of them location-based.
There are also some great networking tips in this post.
Conduct or Request an Informational Interview
As part of your networking, you can try conducting an informational interview. This is where you find out information about a specific industry or role you’re interested in from someone who is an already established professional. During the interview, you can ask about their role, the company, and the industry itself.
To get an informational interview, try to contact someone you already know in your network, such as former colleagues. You can also ask friends and family to introduce you to someone they know. If you can set up a meeting with current employees of a company you’re interested in – even better! Making a post on social media letting people know the types of professionals you’re looking to connect with can go a long way!
You can also send a cold call or email if there is a specific person or company you would like to talk with. Reaching out via LinkedIn or your college’s alumni associations are other great places to find contacts. When emailing, say why you’re reaching out and include a direct request to meet or talk.
Before the interview, prepare a list of questions about all aspects of your field of interest. Ask questions about the industry, their role, company culture, and work and life balance. At the end of the interview, ask for recommendations on who else to talk to and send a thank you note.
Find an Internship or Mentorship
If you have trouble sourcing jobs from the hidden job market, you may need to start smaller. Internships are good for getting into a new field or the job market in general. Through an internship, you get on-the-job training from an employer while also getting to try your hand in a new role.
Depending on the position, internships usually last for 3-6 months. They can be either full or part-time. Some internships are paid, while others are unpaid.
Mentorships are similar, but they connect you directly with professionals that can teach you and connect you with others in your field.
You can tap into your network for referrals for these positions or look at job boards. Both of these positions can lead to more experience and connections, which ultimately get you into the hidden job market.
Many people underestimate the power of volunteer work. By volunteering for a charity, community organization, or professional group, you open yourself up to a whole new network of people. You can also gain experience in a new field that you can use for a portfolio or resume. Plus, many employers value work-related volunteering as prior experience for a position.
Attend Job Fairs
Put on your best business wear, grab some business cards, and head on out to a job fair. Many local chambers of commerce, business groups, and other organizations host job fairs. You can find them through your local listings or simply by searching job fairs and your city name. These days, there are many online job fairs as well; FlexJobs and My Employment Options regularly host them.
At job fairs, you can speak directly with employers and learn about potential job opportunities in your area. You also make yourself more memorable for future interviews and correspondence by meeting people in person.
Besides making direct connections, you can also learn what skills and requirements people are looking for that you can build on for future opportunities. You can also gather additional info about companies you may want to work for.
Promote Your Expertise
Why not let the recruiters come to you? If you are already an expert in your field, promote your knowledge online. These days, anyone can be discoverable as an influencer no matter their following. Through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, feature articles, starting a blog, etc., you can create content about your area of expertise and use it to promote yourself.
You’ll see that soon enough, people will begin to seek you out.
8 Useful Tools for Tapping into the Hidden Job Market
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, run, don’t walk, to make one! This is the best resource for connecting professionally with former colleagues and potential employers.
You can also let recruiters know that you’re open for work, and you may find people messaging you directly through there.
When reaching out to new people via cold emails, finding the correct contact information can be difficult. Hunter allows you to input a company’s website and find professional email addresses. Of course, do some research and make sure the contact is the right person for you to reach out to.
For instance, you probably don’t want to go straight to the CEO of Google if you’re looking to get hired there!
You want to make sure that the company you have your eyes set on is a good place to work. Glassdoor has reviews from current and past employees as well as salaries listed so you can ensure you’re getting your foot in the door at the right company at the right price.
Eventbrite is used by many organizations, big or small, for hosting professional networking events, conferences, trade shows, and job fairs. Use it to see if anything is coming up in your area.
Business Network International (BNI) is the largest business networking organization in the world. Available in over 70 countries, most major cities and towns will have their own local chapter for networking. Online networking is also an option.
If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, Volunteer Match is an excellent place to get started. You can find local opportunities or options in other cities you may be interested in working in.
Designed for all kinds of connections, Meetup can help you expand your personal network by connecting you with people who share your interests and passions. From hiking to side hustles, you can network with all kinds of people online or in your area.
Designed specifically for career networking, Ten Thousand Coffees allows you to connect with colleagues, interns, new hires, mentoring, and groups. It’s the all-in-one way to begin networking with people without needing to send out cold emails.
When you really start listening and putting yourself out there, the hidden job market isn’t so hidden anymore! Remember to open yourself up and see every conversation as a way to build connections with everyone you meet. With these tips, you should have plenty of job offers coming your way. Good luck with your job search!