Uncovering "Hidden" Job Opportunities

As the job market becomes more competitive, job seekers are realizing now is a time to become more creative in exploring new jobs. Following are some tips to assist you in your job search and help uncover that “hidden” job opportunity.

Did you know that about 80% of all job openings never reach the general public?

For example, when there is a job opening, employers may ask their employees or colleagues for recommendations of possible applicants. Employees may hear of a prospective job opening within their company and pass the word along, employers may contact prior applicants, or a job seeker may approach the company at just the right time and be hired before an opening is announced. Though the online job boards are always a great way to uncover job leads, being resourceful by integrating other tactics into your search will help you uncover opportunities like these.

So, how can you tap into this "hidden" job market?

Successful job hunters learn to develop their own job leads. In other words, they get in touch with employers before job positions are announced. They also use any contacts they have to learn of prospective openings and work at developing new contacts (e.g., networking).

To become an effective networker, one must expand his or her base of professional contacts. Joining local business chapters and trade groups, attending their meetings and even offering to give presentations on a topic of interest or knowledge is a great start. Likewise, seeking out people that have a similar position or career goal and making it a point to stay in touch with them on an ongoing basis or utilizing college alumni organizations to see where former classmates are working – and then reaching out to them and establishing a relationship – are simple, practical ways you can expand your circle of contacts.

In theory, networking is basic discipline – it takes time, commitment and dedication. Over a period of months, you will expand your professional base of contacts and will have much greater access to uncovering hidden job leads. And, while networking does not guarantee that you'll find a new job, it can certainly open doors for you that previously did not exist.

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