A decade ago, along with most career counselors, I was pushing job hunters to tap into the hidden job market because, at that time, 80% of all jobs weren’t advertised. Enter the electronic age where we now have massive job board listings, and so many believe these are all the jobs out there, which is not accurate. Hannah Morgan, Job Search Strategist who writes a terrific blog each week, said,
What is this hidden job market?
Morgan used an analogy to explain. She asked you to imagine an iceberg. “On the surface, you see only the ice berg’s top. Equate that to the job market, and you only see a small portion of the jobs advertised. The massive amount of ice under the water is the entire word of mouth process companies and hiring managers go through to fill an opening. The manager knows about this opportunity long before the job gets listed, and the HR recruiter posts it. The hiring manager is telling everyone they know about the job and passing the word before it’s publicly announced. Many people are found early in this stage, often on LinkedIn. The recruiter is actively sourcing out good candidates based on your profile and its keywords,” says Morgan.
Tapping into connections in a new way
Focus energy on building relationships to help gain access to inside information about job opportunities that may not have been posted publicly yet. You can start with people you already know — even if you have lost contact with them over the years. Reach out to a former classmate by merely saying you’d like to catch up. Send them a family picture, that often starts conversations more easily.
To be found, you must start with a complete and highly effective LinkedIn profile. (For direction, follow this self-directed LinkedIn Profile Creation Guide published by Forbes.
Job hunters almost always overlook one strategy Morgan loves. “Job hunters use LinkedIn but overlook Facebook. Yet, the reality is that people are glued to Facebook daily.” Facebook added over 100 million users during the Spring of 2020. Our Facebook page is usually filled with family, friends, relatives – people you know rather well. “Network on Facebook to look for work – it’s a smart move,” said Morgan. “You have your personal network that is eager to help you if you ask. Ask, but be strategic about it. The worst question to ask is, Do you know about any jobs? Better to inquiry about how they are doing now handling Covid. Personal connections need to be made first before you ask for job search help. Then utilize the following steps to get networking assistance.”
Create a list of companies you want to work at, targeting 20-25. Go to your Facebook page, and at the top, search for a “company name.” Select the “People” tab. Then turn on the Facebook button that says “friends of friends.” This allows you to see your 2nd connections and who is connected to who. Plus, no one ever knows you looked at their profile. To privately network, you can use Facebook Messenger to ask for help.