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Six ways to expose the hidden job market

March 16, 2016 — 

Networking is a social activity.  When you get together with your friends you talk about topics that are of interest to all.  You tell stories, you have some laughs, you celebrate each other’s successes and you might even learn something new.  The same type of social interaction can be used when it comes to professional settings. It’s just more formal than when you are with friends.

Most people start to expose the hidden job market by researching a company online. This can be fairly simple these days, as most organizations have a website.  The website may speak about the culture of their workplace; but until you talk to the people who work there you won’t know what it’s like and determine if it’s a good fit for you. You need to connect with people, have conversations, and learn new information about different positions and jobs within an industry or profession.

When employers seek new employees, they are not just looking for someone who can and will do the job – they are also looking for someone who is a good fit with the current team.  Being able to DO the job is only part of the equation.  Here are six ways to expose the hidden job market and increase your future opportunities:

  1. Identify who is in your current network
    • Include friends, family, fellow students, colleagues, fellow volunteers and neighbours
    • Learn about their careers and connections
    • Get referred to professionals for further conversations
  2. Connect with professionals who currently work or previously worked at a company of interest
    • You get a look inside the company
    • They get to know your strengths and competencies
    • It helps you determine if you’re a good fit for that company
  3. Look into Sector Councils and join Professional Associations
    • Attend an association event to meet professionals and possible mentors
    • Obtain industry specific information
    • Ask for an informational interview and engage in opportunities for networking
  4. Review the news the company has made
    • Search “X-company in the news” on the web
    • Read what the company wants you to know through corporate news releases
    • Read how the company has made headlines through news stories
  5. Use social media smartly (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook)
    • View platforms that provide a look inside the company and industry
    • Connect with professionals in the field
    • Let employers see your interest by connecting to specific companies, industries and professionals
  6. Review current openings on job boards (such as CAREERConnect, to see who is hiring
    • Contact the person listed to enquire about opportunities similar to your interests
    • Develop an idea of employee turnover and/or company growth
    • Make connections for future possibilities

Complement your studies with these strategies. Start early, in your first year of university and continue throughout your career.  The sooner you can develop the skills to uncover the hidden job market, the better position you will be in when it becomes critical for the job hunt.

Be open to learning about others’ careers, industry information, labour market demands, and what you have to offer. You truly can never underestimate the power of a good conversation!



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