What is the Hidden Job Market?

I have built my career showing professionals how easy it is to shorten their job search and get more quality interviews and bigger offers using a very simple yet powerful system to tap into it. I love the hidden job market!

A statement I often hear is, “Isn’t tapping into the hidden job market just networking?” In short, no. It’s about going direct and cutting out both the “internal” and “external” middlemen: those within the company (i.e. HR) and those outside (i.e. recruiters).

Let’s begin by dispelling a few myths about the hidden job market:

  • True or False: With all the jobs listed on the internet today, I don’t need to concern myself with any “hidden” job market.

False. That is, if you care about getting more than a measly 1-3% response rate from the resumes you send out using major job boards.In other words, did you send out 50 resumes using job boards and you still haven’t heard anything back? Well, by these standards your only problem is you haven’t begun to send out enough resumes yet … yikes!

The good news about these stats is that there are a whole bunch of job seekers out there that just started to feel a whole lot better about themselves. The bad news is that this proves job boards are a really depressing, difficult and painful way for the majority of us to land great jobs.

  • True or False: I should only answer jobs that are advertised because I will look stupid if I send my resume to a company when I have no idea if they need someone like me.

False. Way back when, I had my own executive recruiting firm. I remember client companies telling me, “We don’t have any immediate needs right now, but if you find a superstar, please don’t forget about us – we want to see their resume!” Not only do companies always make time for people who are “superstars” (and that star quality has a lot to do with the way you market yourself to them), most companies go through at least five steps to fill a position before they will post the position to a major job board.

Think about it: If you have a key position that just opened up in your company, would the first thing you do be to pick up the phone and call Monster? No, of course not!

You would get on the phone to a few trusted colleagues. You would look through your resume file to see if anyone fits the bill and see if anyone already on board is qualified to be promoted to it. You might alert your staff to refer someone they might know. You would launch an intimate grass roots campaign to try to fill this position waaaay before the general public is notified. And if after a few weeks, the position is still not filled, perhaps you contact a related association to post the job on their members-only job board, or you contract a recruiter.

  • True or False: I have heard the interview process is shorter and the salary package can be significantly higher with unadvertised opportunities.

True! Why? Because when you pursue unadvertised jobs, you are almost always talking with the company key decision-makers right from the start. You have more creativity to sell your skills and build the value of who you can be to the company. And because these interviews usually lack the formality of a full blown human resource-driven candidate search, your competition is significantly lower AND the salary terms are less likely to be chiseled in stone. I have seen this play out in my clients’ favor time after time!

  • True or False: I am not “high enough up” the ladder to seek out unadvertised opportunities. The hidden job market only applies to executives.

False. ANYONE (and I mean even if you are right out of college) can enjoy the benefits of the hidden job market. These jobs are available on all levels and in virtually all industries.The trick is to hone your focus so you actually achieve the results you want.

So why should you care about the unadvertised market? Because for you, it means more job opportunities, more market leverage, less competition, shorter interview processes and bigger offers. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to keep pumping out resumes via the internet when you can have all of this control over your next career move!

So, want to start to turn your job search around? Here are some steps you can take right now:

1. Get focused on your target markets
2. Research companies in your target markets and get key decision maker names
3. Make sure your resume is designed to penetrate your target markets
4. Send your resume directly to the key decision makers

…the secret is going direct!

Click here to read What is the Hidden Job Market: Part 2!

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

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