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How to access the hidden job market

Knowing how to access the hidden job market is key to super-charging your job search because you will be able to tap into the 60-80% of all jobs which are never advertised!

You won’t find them on any of the major job sites, your recruitment agency doesn’t know about them and you won’t see them in the press. They are hidden from view.

These are the jobs that are filled through good old ‘word of mouth’ or personal recommendation.

If it’s not you that’s being considered as a potential candidate for a job in this hidden job market it can feel very unfair. You might think the person who got hired because they seemed to be in the right place at the right time just got lucky and maybe they did. Or maybe they applied a little bit of judgement too and made their own luck?

The great news is, you can learn to do that too!

 

Top tips for accessing the hidden job market

  • Nurture your networks – online and offline
  • Research your dream employers
  • Focus your networking in the right areas
  • Make speculative applications
  • Prepare for interview success!

 

 

 

Two women having coffee and taking notes. How to access the hidden job market - Louise Jenner - Career Coaching

Nurture your networks

Your professional and personal networks are key if you want to access the hidden job market. Begin by identifying who you know who may have some insights into your chosen sector. Then, check in with those people, especially if you haven’t contacted them in a while.

You can contact them online, maybe via Facebook or LinkedIn, and aim to have some real-life interaction. Why not invite them for a coffee or schedule a zoom call?

Don’t make it all about you! Ask them how things are going for them. Find out what’s new in their world and be alert for signs that there may be opportunities on the horizon.

At the appropriate point, you can let it be known that you’re open to exploring new opportunities and be as specific as you can about the sort of role you desire. Remember to thank them for their time and ask them to keep their ear to the ground for you.

 

 

Woman in beige sweater sitting at laptop making notes - Research your dream employers to access the hidden job market - Louise Jenner - Career Coaching

Research Your Dream Companies

Next it’s time to really think about who your dream employers might be and to make a list! How many companies are there in the area in which you’d like to work? Write down their names and start to find out a bit more about the culture of the company. This is the strategic bit and is essential to accessing the hidden job market.

Take a look at their websites and remember, it’s not about whether they’re hiring right now. Check out their social media profiles. See what their customers are saying about them online and check their employees’ reviews on Glassdoor. You could even set up Google alerts so that you stay up to date with their news.

If they pass your initial screening and look like they might qualify as your future dream employer, keep them on your list. Now start following them on social media and engage positively with their posts.

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Focus Your Networking

Focus your networking by reaching out and asking to connect with people in your chosen sector in order to start building professional relationships for the future.

It’s now easier than ever to meet people who can help you access the hidden job market. Online networking events are often more structured and facilitated than their offline equivalents. The important thing is to find ways to meet and chat with people in your desired sector.

Remember, all you’re trying to do is talk to someone and to find out a little bit about them and their roles because you’re looking for clues about possible dream employers.

Your dream employer might operate a refer a friend scheme where they reward existing employees for recommending that their friend comes to work there. This is a great way to tap the hidden job market because it’s a win-win for you and the person who introduces you.

Whenever I’m asked what I regret about leaving my safe, well paid job back in 2013, there’s only one thing that ever springs to mind; I wish I had started networking with people outside of my sector, sooner.

LinkedIn is the easiest place to meet the people who will be able to help you make your career change when the time is right. If you’re not confident using LinkedIn, that’s a perfect focus for a career coaching session.

2 hands holding a smartphone with the LinkedIn logo over a desk - Use Linkedin to access the hidden job market - Louise Jenner - Career Coaching

Update your online profiles

When you’ve identified what opportunities you’d like to find in the hidden job market, it’s time to take the advice of one of my previous managers, Dave. He said, “If you walk like a General, talk like a General and look like a General, chances are… you’re a General.”

Put another way: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

And this advice is about more than just your clothes. Take a look at your online profiles (especially LinkedIn) through the eyes of your dream employer and make sure that you look like their dream candidate.

After all the hidden job market works both ways. Savvy employers looking for talent will use LinkedIn and other sites to see who they can find before they resort to the expense of advertising a vacancy.

So, complete all the main sections on your LinkedIn profile. Pay attention to your photos, headline and your ‘about’ section because this is where you’ll have your first virtual conversation with your dream employer.

Tell them what you would love to do for them. Explain what pain you can solve and demonstrate your previous success with an example.

Remember to end with your contact information and make it easy for them to get in touch with you.

You can read more about making the most of LinkedIn here…

 

Two hands typing on a laptop - make speculative applications to access the hidden job market - Louise Jenner - Career Coach

Speculative Applications

Alongside all your networking there’s another very proactive way of tapping into the hidden job market and that is making speculative applications. Remember when you were a teenager looking for a Saturday job and you walked around town dropping off your CV at your favourite businesses? Well, at this point in your career it needs to be a little bit more sophisticated than that but the principle is the same.

They can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist!

A direct approach with a well crafted cover letter, addressed by name, to the hiring manager can often yield amazing results because you’re making their life easier for them.

 

Women shaking hands across a desk. - Prepare for interview success to access the hidden job market - Louise Jenner - Career Coaching

Prepare for Interview Success

A career coaching client of mine landed his dream job in his desired location, during the pandemic, using this approach. As a result, he kindly wrote this on my LinkedIn profile:

“Louise helped me to find a new job that I love while relocating across the country during a global pandemic. Her approach and advice was absolutely invaluable. I genuinely could not have done it without her and I cannot recommend her services enough. … I was unsure that what I was trying to achieve was possible and that any form of help would make it any more possible, however Louise’s support and advice lead me to understand what it was that I valued most in a job and ultimately turned my dream into reality.” – Rick.


Imagine that today, someone in your dream employer’s team has handed in their notice, been promoted or announced that they’re taking a career break. An opportunity is opening up, right now!

If the hiring manager already knows about you and your aspirations, there’s a high chance that they’ll be in touch to ask you in for an interview before they spend their precious money on advertising the role. So, you need to be well-prepared for an impromptu interview.

Of all the coaching I provide, Interview Prep is really important because it’s the crucial stage in the game. Being well-prepared makes the difference between being overlooked or landing your dream job at last! Find out more here.

Of course, if they have someone else’s details on file instead then that person will be the ‘lucky’ one. 

 

 

Please let me know if you have any questions about this post or how you can improve your chances of tapping the hidden job market. You can comment below or email me direct.

Copyright: Louise Jenner, 2022.
 

Louise Jenner is known as The Dream Job Coach. She provides career and business coaching online via zoom from her home office in South Devon.

Book your FREE Career Clarity Session with Louise by clicking the button below.

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