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01/03/09
Access The Hidden Job Market
Filed under: General, Networking
Posted by: John Hadley @ 4:00 pm

I’m often asked how to access the “hidden” job market. The keys…

Make sure that:

  1. You can describe clearly your ‘package’, NOT the jobs you’ve held, duties you’ve performed, types of experience you bring to the table, but the ‘benefits’, the results you can produce and the challenges you can help a prospective employer solve.
  2. You meet with as many people 1-on-1 as you can, making sure to present clearly your ‘package’ and where you want to be headed.
  3. You brainstorm with them to find others you can meet with, to build a strong spiderweb of contacts that begins to ‘catch’ openings for you.
One mistake job seekers commonly make is to ask those contacts about openings. If you do a good job with the steps above, you should never have to ask about openings. When you get a contact excited about the package you have to offer, so that they clearly understand what might interest you and the results you have to offer in that area, they will volunteer openings they know of. On the other hand, if you press that point yourself, you will be much less likely to get the referrals you seek, because:

  • I’m concerned you will press the same way with the referrals, and I don’t want to risk my own connections.
  • The focus of the meeting shifts to “help you find a job”, so that I’m less likely to share contacts who I don’t think have openings. (And since we’re talking about the ‘hidden’ job market, jobs that haven’t been posted or widely published, how will I know about the ‘hidden’ opportunities that contact might have or be thinking about creating?)
  • My own experience is that every job I’ve ever had came from networking, and some of them were already filled or did not exist. In fact, I had a very successful systems consulting practice that arose from a casual conversation with someone I’d never met, at a conference in Montreal. I gave my simple ‘pitch’, and he said “would you like a consulting assignment?” 2 weeks later, I had a 6 figure consulting practice.

    For more on accessing the ‘hidden job market’, check out these articles:

    http://www.JHACareers.com/ArticlesNetworkingBL.htm

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