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Job Search

Did you know that 80% of jobs are hidden and never show up on job search websites? There is less competition within the hidden job market because very few know about the positions. Employers rely on employee referrals for the majority of their recruitment.

Here are 4 proven strategies to tap into the hidden job market:

Targeted Job Search

A targeted search means identifying specific areas to pursue that generate the best results while allowing you to have control over your search. Today’s economy dictates that job hunters be more knowledgeable, determined and focused than ever before to reach their goals. Learn all you can about the companies for which you are interested.

Before you start any search use tools like Vault or The Muse for an organization overview and industry profile. Visit the company’s website to ensure that you understand the breadth of what they do. Review their background, values, vision and mission. Learn about their products, services and client base. Read recent press releases for insight into projected growth and stability. Go to LinkedIn to find the hiring manager’s name. Review trade or business publications. Seek perspective and insight into their industry standing. Prepare to ask questions about the organization or position based on your research.

Did you find an employer or position that piques your interest? Start checking out our Resume & Cover Letter Resources to begin tailoring your documents to the job description. It’s okay if you don’t meet the preferred requirements, but your skills match 80% of the minimum qualifications.

Face-to-Face Networking

Did you know that you are 5 times more likely to be hired if you have been referred by an employee than if you apply without knowing anyone in the organization? Communicating in person showcases your personality and helps people genuinely connect with you. It leads to learning more about the industry and might even get you a job.

Associations and school alumni groups are very useful in networking and often their websites have jobs posted. Look for alumni groups for past employers on LinkedIn. After networking events, rather than exchanging business cards, take a picture of a person’s business card and connect with them on LinkedIn.

Make a list of those you know and begin contacting them to see if they might introduce you to someone who can lead you to a job. Here are ideas to get started:

  • Peers, family, friends, neighbors, church
  • Degree program professors/faculty
  • Career Development Center
  • FPU alumni network
  • Job/career fairs, networking events
  • Social media contacts (LinkedIn/Facebook/Instagram)
  • Professional associations, organizations, clubs
  • Current/former colleagues/volunteers you've worked with
  • Those you've learned of through research
  • Anyone you'd like advice from

Face-to-Face Networking Resources:

Social Media Networking

Social media can connect you to people or businesses of interest locally, nationally and internationally. Your network connections will be accessible and can stay current with your professional updates. LinkedIn and Twitter can also help you build relationships with key influential people in your industry that you may not otherwise meet.

With 77% of recruiters using LinkedIn to vet and hire candidates, it's essential that your online presence is professional and reflective of your experience, skills and abilities. When seeking new opportunities or making a career change, your online image can help set you apart from others. You can even improve your reputation if you’re connected with industry leaders on social media. See Social Media Networking for more tips.

Traditional Job Search

A traditional job search is simply applying for jobs on an employer’s website, on job aggregators like Indeed or Glassdoor, on job boards like FPU’s Handshake and through classified ads like Craigslist. A word of caution: protect your privacy against scams, keep a low profile if already employed and only use 20% of your time searching this way. The other 80% should be spent on a targeted search and networking.

Always be grateful for those who are willing to help and thank them for their time and assistance. This goes a long way towards future help. Every meeting you get and the opportunities that result will be because of your networking efforts and establishing relationships. Write a thank you note, keep in contact, and pay it forward. These connections might even become your references and recommenders!

Don’t forget to track your job search efforts to increase efficiency, provide valuable information on which job sites are most effective for you (and which are a waste of time) and see which employers are most interested in you. There are several free job search tracking tools like Handshake, Startwire and Jibber Jobber.