Job-Seeking Strategy – Uncovering the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market….another way to find a job!
What is the “Hidden and Unpublished Job Market”?
The term “Hidden Job Market” refers to job openings that exist or will in the very near future, but that are not available to the general job-seeking public; they are not being advertised, are not on the internet job boards and are not listed with staffing services. They may or may not be listed on the employer’s website.
This is a lengthy post so I will divide it into two sections. This post will discuss:
How do you get your foot in the door for these “hidden” jobs?
- Timing – Due to the nature of most of the hidden jobs… timing is critical. Which means you need to be ready at a moment’s notice to respond. LinkedIn and Facebook profiles have to be current and in good shape. Resume and cover letter both need to be up to date as well as ready to send. Interview question responses need to be completed and ready to be reviewed in the event that a telephone interview is in the cards very quickly after initiating action.
- Check your sources frequently – perhaps every day – job boards, websites of targeted employers with available job listings, classified ads, etc. When a hidden job becomes “unhidden” you want to know about it and be ready to act that day – not a week later. Ben Franklin had it right when he talked of early birds and worms!
- Networking – As noted in the title of the great networking book by Harvey Mackay – Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty – you build your network before you need it. If your network is skimpy, however, use what you have and get to work to build it to a far more robust level. We will cover how to put your existing network to work for you to unearth the hidden job market, but you should make building your network a priority. My advice to you is to buy – and read – Harvey’s book!
- Have and execute a self-marketing plan – The most pro-active way to unearth those hidden jobs… as well as those that are not hidden, but you have just not found them yet.
This self-marketing plan involves you making lots of phone calls and following a carefully worded script (see notes accompanying each aspect of the call):
“Bill – Harry Smith here. How have you been??…it has been a while since we talked.”
Hopefully it will not have been so long that Bill hasn’t a clue who you are!! Networks and contacts are like tuna salad – the fresher the better. If it has been awhile… or the person is just a business card you collected at a meeting a year ago, you should add:
“Bill – you may not remember, but we met at the XYZ meeting/conference/reception/whatever last year in (city). I enjoyed our brief conversation then…and I was impressed. I kept your business card knowing that I would want to touch base with you in the future… like now when I need some advice!”
“Say Bill – I have a favor to ask… nothing heavy mind you.. but important to me. I am in the process of changing jobs and I really need a critical eye to take a look at my resume. I respect your judgment and know I can count on you to tell me like it is.”
Note what you have done: (a.) you have paid Bill a compliment. We all like getting a compliment, and (b.) you did not ask Bill for a job or if he had an opening. You never want to ask that question… it puts people on the spot, makes them uncomfortable and puts them in a position to usually say “no”… and people don’t like to do that, especially to a friend or acquaintance.
“May I email my resume to you and then get some feedback in a few days?”
You asked Bill to do something that is both very easy and will take very little time….so virtually all asked will say “yes”.
“I will also include my target list of possible employers…and it would be most helpful if you knew anyone at those firms…getting my resume in front of a decision maker is my objective… I can get that feedback at the same time I get your read on my resume.”
Bill has already said “yes” once… he is not going to say no to this add-on request, although it is a bit more time-consuming. The target list has been compiled through your knowledge of the area’s finest employers, newspaper articles regard those firms that are expanding, those firms posting jobs that are of interest. Limit listings to 15-20; one page only.
“Bill… I can’t thank you enough. I really appreciate your input. I am working on my schedule… and I need to be near your office in the next few days. Can I swing by your office and take a few minutes of your time to get your feedback?? What day and time will work for you… I am at your disposal.”
How well Bill knows you will determine how successful you are in getting a personal meeting. If you can hit 50% on these, you are doing great. Why do you want a personal meeting rather than a telephone conversation? You will have Bill’s full and uninterrupted attention and an opportunity to impress Bill with your demeanor and personality. Refresh Bill’s memory of how sharp and personable you are. All harder to do over the phone.
(If Bill can’t grant a personal meeting)
“Hey …no problem… I will give you a call in a few days or so to get your feedback. Thanks again… you will have my resume and target list within the hour… let me confirm your email address.”
You want an agreement that Bill will take your call and give you the input you want on your resume as well as the details regarding who Bill knows on your target list. You have also confirmed Bill’s email address. Send him your resume and your target list as email attachments (done in MSWord of course) along with the following email:
Bill – thanks so much for taking my call today. I am excited about the challenges of a new position and I really appreciate your candid review of my resume – does it flow?? – is it clear as to my achievements?? Any and all comments will be appreciated. I have also attached a target list of employers I am interested in…. and it would be most helpful if you have any contacts at any of them that can get me past the gatekeepers in HR. And of course… let me know who else you think I should be talking to.
Thanks again… and I will give you a call in a few days.
The operative words in this email are resume review and who do you know. In order to review your resume, Bill has to read it. First mission accomplished – you have a potential employer (depending on where Bill is located and what his business is) reading your resume… and you have a “sphere of influence” reading your resume.
What is a “sphere of influence”? It is a person whose position and achievements make them a valuable contact in and of themselves… AND… because of who they know and who is in their network.
People talk with people of all walks of life, but particularly with peers… spheres of influence talk to other spheres of influence. You make this kind of call to enough spheres of influence… and sooner or later you are going to hit one who either has a job opening – hidden or not… and/or knows someone who is in a hiring mode.
But – Bill’s job is not to find you a job. Bill is busy (or else he wouldn’t be a good sphere of influence!!) You need to follow up! If you can get the personal face time with Bill – great. If not, make this call 3 – 4 days after you emailed your info to Bill:
“Bill – Harry Smith here… is this a good time to talk?
Just following up on our recent conversation and the email I sent you. What are your thoughts on my resume?”
At this point – don’t talk any more. You want – gently – to make Bill talk to you about your resume. Depending on how certain you are regarding the content of your resume, you really want Bill’s comments. Listen intently… make notes… and recognize that he may have some good input to fine tune your resume. If you get a blanket “looks good”, ask a few questions such as:
“Bill – if you were to make one recommendation to improve my resume, what would it be?”
“Does it flow smoothly, or are there are areas that are confusing?”
DO NOT be defensive or argumentative about any comments Bill makes!!
“Thanks… that was really helpful.”
“As to my target list.. let’s see … there are about 20 firms listed on it… do you have any contacts at any of those I can leverage to see if they have an opportunity where I can make a contribution?”
Make sure your list is no longer than 15 – 20 firms…any more than one sheet of paper becomes an imposition. If Bill says “Yes, I do… at XYZ”, ask for the info.
OK… back to your request of Bill. If Bill offers to make a call on your behalf, you have a decision to make.
If Bill is not a close friend, decline his offer by saying:
“Bill – I appreciate the offer… but let me make the call, mentioning that you referred me. It will help me get a feel for the organization. I will let you know how the call goes, and I may ask you to make a follow up call or email.”
Why don’t you want Bill to make the call? Because you can never be sure that he did make the call!!…it is not a priority for Bill… it can fall by the wayside…and you sure can’t call him back to ask him if he made the call!!
On the other hand if you and he are very, very close… and you have no doubt he will make the call, then you will say:
“Great.. who will you be calling so I can follow-up a few days after your call? How about if I make the follow-up call in a week?”
“One last question Bill. Can you think of any other people or organizations I need to contact… is there someplace I have overlooked that comes to mind?”
This is one last effort to get any additional leads from Bill.
OK… Bill, I really appreciate your help.. .it has been most valuable. Thanks again…and I will keep you posted as to my progress. If something comes to mind… just give me a shout or send me an email. It would be greatly appreciated.
In OK…now you know a proven process to unearth hidden and unpublished jobs. In part 2 of this topic next week, I will discuss to whom you make these calls and some modifications depending on who you are calling.
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