Five Ways to Uncover the Hidden Job Market

Regardless of how savvy you are, job searching is not always easy. It is important to understand how positions are filled and to develop a strategy that will help in your career quest.

  1. Go beyond online job boards and search engines
    Eighty percent of all employee hires are through the hidden job market. Employers save time and money if they fill positions through referrals from colleagues and their own professional network. They also feel more comfortable hiring a candidate that has been singled out by a trusted source. Be open to connecting with groups both within your profession and outside of work. Information about job leads that may not be advertised typically come from these sources.
  2. Be smarter about the way you network
    Establishing or cultivating your professional network is crucial to successfully finding jobs that are not advertised. Your network should include a variety of people—past coworkers, people you have managed, mentors, peers, and clients. Social media makes it easy to manage and cultivate your network. You no longer have to connect with people face-to-face, you have the option to build strong relationships with an online presence. You can show your professionalism, intelligence, and experience by participating in online discussions and by sharing resources. By doing so, group members will become familiar with your name and your work.
  3. Target and research companies
    Read local and international news for the latest industry news and to stay up-to-date on what is going on with the companies you are interested in. In addition, sign up for news alerts from potential employers.
  4. Join professional associations and get involved
    Professional associations offer opportunities for you to serve on committees and speak at conferences. Offering you many chances to showcase your talent and skills to members and potential employers. See a list of professional associations here.
  5. Use social media to consistently add value and build influence
    Building social media influence allows you the opportunity develop your brand, share your expertise through blogs, videos, and editorial content. Establishing a digital footprint allows others the opportunity to learn more about you. Recruiters use social media sites to source open jobs and jobs that may become open in the near future. It is not uncommon to be contacted by a recruiter based on your profile or something that you posted. Social media can work for you even while you are sleeping.

Searching for employment can be difficult, but if you follow these steps, it may lessen the stress of your job search. Keep in mind that UMUC Career Services is available to help you in every stage of your career. Visit CareerQuest to access career resources or set up an appointment with a UMUC Career Advising Specialist.

Rhoda Smackum is a career advising specialist at University of Maryland University College. She is an associate certified career coach and a certified master of career services. Her areas of expertise include career transition, career exploration and job search strategy.