Archive for November, 2009

Do You Know How to Access the Hidden Job Market?

November 23, 2009

Even though the news reminds us every night that more and more people are out of work, I am here to tell you that there are jobs being fill every day – in the hidden job market – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look and how to find them.

While estimates vary as to how big the hidden job market really is, most people tracking these things agree that it makes up about 75% of total employment opportunities. Yet, many job seekers have their heads stuck in the job board postings that make up about 3% to 5% of job opportunities, and really yield few results. So you see, you have a much higher chance of landing the right job when you seek out the hidden job market – there are many more jobs and there is much less competition.

How do you find the hidden job market?
• Focus on several target companies you would like to work for, rather than on specific job openings
• Research these companies, thoroughly, finding out what their challenges might be and learning about the people who can help you get in the door – look on the Internet, in general publications and trade journals
• Look for articles written by people who work at your target companies and begin building relationships with them by email, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook – ask them to recommend others who might talk with you
• Talk with vendors, customers and employees of your target company – they can often tell you about upcoming jobs and opportunities (these are the hidden sources in the hidden job market)
• Finally, call the target manager at each of your chosen companies – briefly explain who you are, what you know about their business, and how you might help with some of the challenges they are facing. Ask for a 12-minute meeting so you can demonstrate you ability to contribute to the bottom line – stick to 12-minutes. Be prepared to offer ideas and solutions the manager needs.

Using this approach can lead a manager to create a new job for you, once you’ve shown how talented and self-motivated you are.

Additional resources for you to use when accessing the hidden job market include:
• Networking: Reach out to family, friends, professional contacts (peers and colleagues), academic contacts, community contacts, etc. and let them know you are looking for a new opportunity. Be clear and concise about the type of position you are seeking and be prepared to send your updated resume
• Print Ads in Industry Publications: Remember to look at the career postings in the newsletters and journals you receive through memberships to professional associations
• Meta-search Job Boards: Try sites like Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com to search multiple job boards at once, based upon key words and location
• Specialty Job Boards: The idea is to identify job boards that represent your location, occupation, industry, etc. Job boards with a niche focus will likely provide a greater percentage of qualified leads. Some of these may require a monthly subscription. So what? Consider it an investment! Sign up for a few months, take a look around and cancel if you are not getting the leads you expected
• Professional Associations: Join groups that represent your industry and/or occupation. Then make the effort to attend lunch meetings, workshops and roundtable discussions. These groups offer you an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and meet new peers, thereby expanding your network
• Alumni Associations: Remember these? Instead of throwing away the newsletters and magazines from your alma mater, check out what the alumni career services department has to offer in terms of free or low cost job search, company research and networking resources.

If you spend your time on the above activities instead of spending all your time searching job boards and hoping they will work, I know you will experience much better results, as far as getting calls for interviews.

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Getting in the Door so you can “show your stuff”

November 12, 2009

When clients ask me an effective way to find a new job, one of the things I suggest is to have them research companies where they would like to work and get an interview with the person that would be the decision maker for their area of expertise. Get in front of someone who has the authority to hire you and show them your value – they just might create a job for you.

How do you inspire a company to create a new job just for you?  Forget about your credentials, your history and past jobs. They are irrelevant to a new company. If you focus on your past when searching for a new job, you’ll get yourself into the same dead-end job you just left.

Here’s what you do. Decide where you want to work. Study your target company. Explore the problems and challenges it is facing, and figure out how you can help the company tackle them profitably. Apply your skills and abilities in new ways to redefine your qualifications. Think in terms of what the company doesn’t have, but needs – that’s you new job. That’s the business plan you need to present.

The job you want to create is essentially a new business. But, don’t expect your target company to figure out whether this “new business” is justified. You must be ready to explain it to them. Show how you’ll deliver profit in new ways. That’s what will make the company create a new job just for you.

You don’t get into a company by asking the HR department to let you in. To get into the inner sanctum where hiring decision are really made, you need someone with a key. You need a personal introduction.

Employees of the company are an obvious solution, but not the only one, and not the best one. You can develop great contacts in a company by talking to the company’s vendors and its customers, its bankers and real estate agents, its landlords and its competitors. These are “players” who can make the kinds of introductions you need. Research them. Call them. Cultivate them.

You will find these people by studying the appropriate periodicals and professional journals; by talking to industry associations; by attending industry events; by making some smart guesses; and by getting on the phone. That’s how headhunters get leads on good job candidates. It’s how you can get past the guard.