6 Ways to Tap into the Hidden Job Market

No current openings. Are you often met with those pesky, unwanted words when searching for a job on your dream company’s website? Although you’re eager and determined to work there, it doesn’t seem like they ever advertise openings anywhere. It’s not just your imagination – according to experts, more than 80% of jobs actually go unlisted or unadvertised. Instead of repeatedly checking their career section to no avail or shrugging your shoulders in defeat, learn how to tap into the hidden job market with these tips.

FindSpark Hidden Job MarketPhoto courtesy of Stephanie Banares

1. Networking is a MUST.

Networking is an inevitable duty and connections really do matter. You should make every effort to meet the employees of your dream companies, and construct a network that can help get you there. Push yourself to join professional networking groups and attend networking events, conventions, career fairs, and panel events. You should make every effort to put yourself out there and increase your chance of making connections. Each time you meet someone, it’ll increase your chances of hearing about open positions.

In order to make networking a smooth experience, construct a personal pitch to succinctly communicate who you are so people will remember you in the way you want. For example, introduce yourself by sharing your major, summing up your work or extracurricular experience, and explaining that you’re currently looking for an internship or job.

Don’t be afraid to ask around about openings because it might just be fate – you could very possibly meet someone who is looking for an intern! By keeping in a good habit of networking, you can find out about openings and even meet your next boss.

2. Approach the employer directly.

If you attend a panel event, build up your confidence to go speak to the panelists afterwards. If you have your elevator pitch down pat, know what you can offer, and know why you’re passionate about working at their company, you’ll show initiative and confidence to the employer and make a memorable impression. Don’t just leave it there though. Be sure to follow up with personalized LinkedIn requests and a quick, but thoughtful, thank you note.

3. Set up informational interviews.

In order to learn what it takes to get into your dream company, it’s helpful to hear from someone who already works there and their own personal experience snagging the job. Shoot professionals a request to connect on LinkedIn or ask a mutual connection for an introduction in order to get an informational interview in place.

You’ll be surprised by how many people will gladly accept the request to chat and share their own personal experience with you. Look to connect with someone who is relatively new to the company, who’s maybe been there only a year or two. They will be much more likely to relate to your situation because they recently went through the same job search struggles. You can even go the extra step and ask if you would be allowed to shadow them for a workday.

4. Stay on people’s radar.

In general, you want to keep good relationships with former bosses and co-workers. This doesn’t mean sending corny animated e-cards or forwarding annoying chain mail. However, you could send your former bosses a mini update on your life, perhaps when big accomplishments happen. A quick note saying that you just graduated or snagged a really cool internship is a seamless way to stay in touch.

Apart from email or the occasional coffee meeting, LinkedIn is an easy way to keep in touch with your professional network. By posting interesting articles on their newsfeed or just simply posting a “congrats!” on someone’s new achievement, you’ll stay on people’s minds. By keeping the dialogue open, you’ll be fresh in their mind when there is a job opening.

5. Be a stand-out intern.

Often companies don’t post many job openings because they have an ideal job candidate already interning there. It’s much easier for an HR associate to hire from within, so make sure to shine and prove you’d be a stellar employee while you’re interning. When you prove you’re a invaluable asset to a firm, sometimes employers will even create a position for you to stay.

6. Practice good karma.

I totally believe in karma when it comes to the job search. Be sure to help others who are going through the same struggle in finding a job by forwarding over helpful articles and letting people know of openings that would be a good fit for them. What goes around comes around, and your peers will most likely return the favor.

Have you found an internship or job that wasn’t advertised? Share the way you tapped into the hidden job market and snagged the job!

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