The New Hidden Job Market

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It certainly seems like the job market is improving.  The national unemployment rate in August 2013 was 7.3 percent.  However, many workers who are counted are underemployed and a large number of unemployed are not even being counted. In January of 2014, the unemployment rate is 6.6%.

So if you fit into the category of job seeker or underemployed and looking, you most likely are having a tough time getting interviews for jobs you apply to on job boards and company career websites.  If you go to a career professional you will hear to get a job in today’s new economy, you have to “network” and work the hidden job market.  For most jobseekers, most have a hard time networking correctly (see public speaking).  The “hidden job market” used to be defined as all the jobs that are not posted anywhere.

They were the secret jobs that only those who worked at the company knew about and they would just tell their friends.

Guess what happened?  The economy improved just enough and most companies can’t “hide jobs” anymore.  They need talent.  The new hidden job market now includes links to most jobs available.  Some companies may still rely on walk up traffic (retail, restaurant, warehouse, small companies, etc.) but many are also going online. 

Finding open jobs today is not the problem.  The bigger problem is having your resume or online application find the “hidden hiring authority”.  For those really involved in a job search, you are frustrated that very few online applications ever get a response. (I am talking about jobs that really fit your skill sets, education level, etc.).  Hiring managers hide behind technology and recruiting systems that many times don’t even let them have the opportunity to see your application.

The good news is you can find these hiring managers and connect to them in a few different ways.  After all, you know what company has the job, the job skills needed and the job DNA.  Unlike the “hidden job market” where you had to seek out companies on your own, now you can zero in on the target and find someone internally at the company that can help you.  To do this, try:

1. LinkedIn.com  - Search LinkedIn.com for the company that has the job.  Look at all the employees connected to that company.  Are any of the employees’ 1st or 2nd level connections?  If so, reach out to them to see if they can help you identify the hidden hiring manager.  

2. LinkedIn.com  - If you don’t have any 1st or 2nd connections look for the HR manager or department manager that you think you would report to.  Send them a connection request letting them know you applied to their job and would love to be considered for the position. (Make sure you LinkedIn profile is up to date because this will now be your application.

3. Twitter.com - I know.  Most of you who do not have Twitter may pass over this option.  However, if the company you want to work for has an active twitter account (and in some cases an active twitter career account like @workatliberty or @fullsailcareers), you can grab their attention by mentioning them in your tweets.  When they go to your Twitter account, it can direct them to your LinkedIn account or online resume.

4. Phone - Identify the possible hidden hiring authorities using the above tactics and give them a call.  If you leave a message, speak slowly, let them know you applied for the xyz position and would love to be considered.  Leave your name again and a phone number. You may not get a return call, but you should at least peak their curiosity.

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