How to find your next job – even before it’s advertised

You don’t have to be psychic to tap into job opportunities that are available, but not publicly posted yet. You just need to be connected.

The vast pool of unadvertised positions that companies are actively seeking to fill is sometimes called ‘the hidden job market.’ There are many reasons why these jobs might be hidden. Sometimes organizations are replacing a current employee, and they want to line up the incoming candidate before they let the old one go. Other times, advertising of new hires in a certain area could tip the company’s hand about strategic changes or projects they would rather keep under wraps for now.

Most often, however, when companies seek to source new hires before advertising the position, it is simply because they are trying to use their own network first. Candidates who come in through employee referrals or connections are less expensive and tend to be better hires than those who come in cold through job ads.

A referral is a known entity, in that someone the company already trusts is willing to speak well of their work ethic and abilities. Also, those candidates tend to come into the job with a sense of loyalty already, since one of their connections has stuck their neck out for them to help them land the gig.

Once a company advertises a new position publicly, they are often inundated with resumes, applications, and enquiries. All of which can be time-consuming to sift through. So, filling a position internally or through a referral is much more efficient. This is also why many employers will also try to find candidates through online profiles such as a LinkedIn, or by accessing resume databases before posting the opportunities.

How to tap into this hidden job market

Be present online. Post your resume on career sites such as CareerBeacon. Many companies maintain their own career sites as a part of their corporate website. If you have a dream company that you would like to work for, consider creating your profile and posting your resume to their own database. Keep an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn and share industry insights on your other social media properties. (See: Benefits of an online presence.)

Network. (Not just on social networking sites, but in real life too.) Networking is your best way to access the numerous opportunities that are available, but not yet advertised to the public.

Networking actually gets easier throughout your career. The more you work, the more connections you make. Here’s the secret to it: You simply need to show up on time, work hard, and be nice. That alone will have people wanting to work with you again and recommend you to others.

Keep in touch with your network. Stay connected online, attend alumni events, and try to help others whenever you can. This includes the friends you made in school, your coworkers, and the people you know from social activities. The bigger your community of supporters, the more ‘hidden jobs’ you’ll have access to, and consequently, the greater your success will be.

Expand your network.
Telling your friends and business associates you’re looking for connections in your sector. You’d be surprised at how often you can can make a powerful new connection this way. Your second-level connections vastly outnumber your first and could include influential people at your ideal company.

Other ways you can expand your network include attending events connected to your industry or volunteering to help out in your community. Any chance you have to meet new people and make a positive impression is a potential career move. Plus, it’s just nice to make new friends, be a part of a community, and help others when you can.

It pays off in more ways than one.

Here are some conversation starters you can use if you have trouble breaking the ice with new people.

Find a job you love

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