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Uncovering the Hidden Job Market
According to statistics, 80 percent of all jobs are never advertised.
Just because you don't see an advertisement in the newspaper with your job title on it, it doesn't mean they're not looking for you. -Martin Yate, author, Knock 'Em Dead
With so many web sites featuring job postings these days, it's easy to think that the only jobs available are the ones being advertised but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
According to statistics, 80 percent of all jobs are never advertised; they are filled through networking, inside contacts, and word-of-mouth. "Most people just go to classified ads and Internet job posting sites and think that's the end of the line in terms of looking for a job," says Suzanne Toppy, development editor at Peterson's, which has published the "Hidden Job Market" guide every year since 1991. Job postings are not useless, but Toppy advises that job seekers should not rely solely on what they see.
Find a contact person
Your alma mater can also help you find an "in." Ask the alumni office if any grads work at the companies you're interested in applying to. If not, find out who works in the industry; these people can usually point you to more appropriate people. Use job fairs, also, as a networking opportunity. The people you meet are the ones who are doing the hiring.
Become an expert
Once you have become knowledgeable about the companies and have contacts on the inside, write letters that do not blatantly ask for jobs. Instead, request informational interviews, which allow you to demonstrate your industry expertise and position yourself for jobs later on.
Use the ads to your advantage
Yate also says it's a good idea to put yourself in an online resume bank and sign up for a career web site like experience.com. "This is the best way to tap into the hidden job market. You don't have to go on the interviews, and you don't have to accept the jobs. But you're staying attuned and connected to your profession," he says.
Though we've tried to boil down the hidden job market to some simple tips, our methods are not the only ways to exploit it. "There isn't one best way to find a job," Yate says. Start by doing your own digging around in our Research section and uncover the job that's right for you!
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