The Key to Unlocking the Hidden Job Market

31/01/2007 10:49:00

Turn to any job search Web site or newspaper and it’s obvious that there are thousands of jobs up for grabs. What’s little known to most job seekers is that the majority of job openings will never be announced on a Web site or want ad. Career expert Michael Farr offers guidance on how job seekers can tap into these secret opportunities and land a job without having to beat out dozens of competitors first.

In the past most job seekers relied on want ads, placement services, applications and bulk copies of their resume to yield job leads. For awhile, traditional strategies such as these were enough to help people land a job, but in today’s fast-paced, competitive job market, these strategies are hardly as effective as in the past. Years ago a job posting was often only visible to a small fraction of people in a specific area. Today job seekers around the world can instantly find and apply for jobs through the Internet -- an extremely popular tool in today’s job search.

"When an employer posts or advertises a job opportunity to the public it is accessible to an entire universe of people out there, including people who are out of state and in other countries. The competition is often immense," says Michael Farr, career expert and featured speaker in The Very Quick Job Search Video, Third Edition.

The competition between job seekers is so immense, in fact, that the average length of unemployment for today’s workers is more than 17 weeks long, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Many people trapped in this type of prolonged job search solely rely on traditional strategies that limit them to jobs that are already advertised.

Yet it is the hidden job market that offers the most promise, resulting in two-thirds of hires. The hidden job market is made up of job opportunities that have not been posted or advertised to the public and may not even exist yet. Often, these opportunities are filled before they are made public, because an employer was already familiar with a skilled candidate or received an associate’s recommendation of one. Farr believes tapping into these opportunities allows job seekers to put themselves on an employer’s radar and stay one step ahead of competitors.

"Maybe an employer doesn’t have something open right now, but if they are in a position to hire or supervise someone with your skills they should still be a target in your job search. Talking with these employers, whether they have a job available or not, still counts as an interview," says Farr.

He suggests job seekers reach these employers through networking, cold calling and being aware of the opportunities around them. Once the job seeker makes contact with an employer, he or she can express their interest in a future position and describe why their skills complement the employer’s needs.

"The person you may have met may not have a job opening today, but when they do -- if they liked you -- they’ll consider you before anyone else," says Farr.

"All the people that are conducting a more traditional job search and are waiting for a job to open up and be posted or advertised are missing out on opportunities that can be accessed before they are ever known to the public."

The Very Quick Job Search Video, Third Edition, is available from the publisher ( or 1.800.648.JIST). For a free media copy or to speak with Michael Farr, contact Natalie Ostrom.

JIST, America’s Career Publisher, is the leading publisher of job search, career, occupational information, life skills and character education books, workbooks, assessments, videos and software.

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