Breaking Into The Hidden Job Market Through Networking

by: Cecile Peterkin

Many of us have the natural skills in networking without even realizing it. You might be one of them, too. Perhaps you have found a plumbing contractor by simply asking your friends or colleagues, or you got a good babysitter through someone reliable. Having done anything like this means that you have experienced networking already. If not, don’t think that you are going to be terrible in networking because the truth is, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how you can take advantage of the people you know to get something that you want or need, especially if you are looking for a job.

Exploring the Hidden Job Market

Oftentimes, it really seems like there aren’t many job opportunities in the market. You spend time searching in various job sites, only to find out that no job vacancies there fits you. Or maybe you have tried applying for a seemingly-perfect job and ended up not being invited for an interview. It can be very frustrating, of course.

On the brighter side, there are actually many jobs around that cannot easily be seen or noticed. By utilizing your networking skills, it won’t take long until you discover many of them.

To get a better perspective, consider these features of the job market:

- To get a job offer, you have to make yourself noticeable. This is too difficult to do when you apply to job ads, because regardless of how good you think your CV and cover letter are, there may be thousands of other applications already out there.

- There are thousands of employers, particularly the owners of small and medium sized companies, who opt not to advertise their vacancies. They find it very expensive to advertise and they aren’t willing to waste a lot of their time sorting through piles of CVs. What these employers do is hire people directly or get recommendations from their current staff.

This explains why more than 70% of available jobs aren’t advertised anywhere. This also means that by being recommended by an insider could increase the likelihood of you getting offered a job.

Spreading the Word about You

You need to take advantage of networking in order to penetrate the hidden job market and to know all the opportunities waiting out there for you. It will help a lot if you could develop the habit of communicating to people what you need, which is a job. By doing this, you will become more used to speaking about your job search. Also, by getting some feedback from others, your ideas will be developed further as to what kind of job you best qualify for.

Then you could start creating a contact list. This list should include not only the people you talk to on a regular basis, but also the other groups of people that you think can help you in your jobsearch. Find a way to get in touch with them, and again, express your intentions and be grateful for the possible help you may receive from them.

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Center, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.