How to Land a Job in the Hidden Job Market in 2023

hidden job market

Your new year’s resolution is to find a new job, but where do you start? How can you quickly land a job in the hidden job market in 2023?

Fortunately the internet has made it incredibly easy for job seekers to submit dozens of resumes online in a single day. Unfortunately, that means that dozens of applicants, sometimes thousands, are competing for the same job.

Therefore, the chances of actually landing an interview are pretty slim.

As a career coach for nearly twenty years, I often come across clients who feel a lack of control in the job search process. But it turns out that job seekers actually have much more power and control to land their dream job than they realize.

Studies show that roughly 85% of jobs today are filled through networking. Translation: most candidates today land unadvertised jobs, or jobs that are never actually posted. Therefore, understanding the hidden job market is critical in your job search.

That’s not to say that applying for jobs on online job boards like Monster, Indeed, and Simply Hired is a complete waste of time. People do get interviews from responding to advertised job postings. But if you’re spending all of your time using only one job search method, the chances are good that you’ll be searching for a very long time.

Below are four simple strategies to land a job in the hidden job market in 2023:

Strategy #1: Grow your professional network

Networking is the single most important aspect of breaking through the barriers of the hidden job market. For many job seekers, however, networking can seem incredibly daunting. My advice is to start with one or two reputable online platforms to begin building your network:

Build your contacts on LinkedIn

With over 600 million members, LinkedIn is by far the largest and most reputable professional networking platform. And it’s also easy to use. LinkedIn offers step-by-step guides that walk you through how to add contacts to your professional network in a targeted, meaningful way. Keep in mind, when it comes to growing your network to land a job, it’s quality over quantity. If you simply add hundreds of people to your network, your numbers might grow but you will probably not get the results you want. Don’t have a LinkedIn account? Click here to learn all about how to create one!

Join LinkedIn groups

Again, be strategic. Rather than joining dozens of groups based on all of your interests, search for professional groups and associations that are related to your current or targeted industry. Once you get accepted into a group, be sure to participate by liking and commenting on posts and also sharing some of your own posts.

Participate in Facebook Groups

Similar to LinkedIn Groups, you can join groups related to your targeted field and share and receive relevant information like industry news and local networking events.

Join professional associations

Whether you are a seasoned professional, recent graduate, or student, professional associations provide incredible networking opportunities, as well as valuable tools and resources. Getting connected will get you well on your way to land a job in the hidden job market in 2022.

See related: Five Signs You Shouldn’t Accept a Job Offer

Strategy #2: Conduct informational interviews

Informational interviews are conversations you have with professionals working in companies or fields of interest. It’s important to note, however, that informational interviews are not about asking someone to hook you up with a job. (Though this is a great way to explore the hidden job market!)

Below are some recommended steps to take to make your informational interviews successful:

Figure out your approach in terms of asking for an interview

You can message professionals through LinkedIn, Facebook, SnapChat, or other social media platforms.

Make your message short and to the point

You can say something like “Hello, I am a _____ professional / student in _____ field and I am currently looking for _____ position. If you know of someone working in this field who you think would be willing to do an informational interview, please message me. Thanks!”

Contact professionals directly

Here is an example of a short message you can use to ask for an informational interview:

Dear Mr. / Ms. _____. My name is _______ and I am a {student} {professional} studying / working in _____ field. I noticed in your LinkedIn profile that you have worked in XYZ field for over ten years. If you are willing, I would love to chat via phone for 15 minutes to learn more about your background and how you got started in the field. Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, ______________.”

Prepare for the interview

Write down a list of questions (around 5-6) and keep the focus on the professional you are interviewing versus yourself. Sample questions include: How did you get started in your field? What is the most challenging thing about working in ____ field? What do you find most rewarding about working in XYZ company? Tell me about the biggest challenges facing professionals in the field? Do you have any advice for a young / new professional just getting started in the field? Is there anybody else with whom you think I should connect?

Send a thank you note

Try to do it within 24 hours if possible (email is fine). Reiterate a few things you talked about during the interview to demonstrate your listening skills and enthusiasm for the industry. You can also mention that you might follow up / check in in a month or a couple months if it’s okay. That way you are keeping the door open. Positions become available in companies all the time, and your contact might be willing to forward your resume to the hiring manager.

Doing informational interviews is one of the best ways to quickly land a job in the hidden job market in 2022.

See related: Top 10 LinkedIn Mistakes for Moms Returning to Work

Strategy #3: Contact employers of interest directly

Is there an employer or company that you are really excited about? You don’t have to wait for a posted opportunity to get in touch! Very few job seekers contact employers directly, so this is an excellent way to set yourself apart. Following the steps listed below will help you connect with companies of interest:

Follow companies

Follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, and sign up for Google alerts. By following companies and / or industries of interest you can keep updated on pertinent news and trends. Use this information to send a letter of interest.

Send a prospecting letter or letter of interest

A prospecting letter is basically an introduction of yourself to an employer. In this, you highlight your relevant skills, experience, and potential value-add. If you have learned about a new contract a company has received, for example, you can also mention this in your letter. Here is an example of an opening paragraph of a prospecting letter:

“I follow XYZ company on LinkedIn and was excited to learn about the acquisition of XYZ contract. With my background in ______ and ______, I feel I could make a significant contribution to this new program by applying my knowledge of _________________.

Strategy #4: Attend in-person networking events

Attending conferences, trade shows, and smaller networking events and mixers is an excellent way to expand your network and develop meaningful relationships with professionals in your field.

If budget is a factor, try attending local events. You can also try to search online for professional associations and find a local chapter in your area.

Wrapping Up

Finding a job through the hidden job market is straightforward once you educate yourself about the process and practice your networking skills. It’s important to remember that networking takes time and effort. You don’t get the immediate satisfaction of hitting the “send” button that you get when you blast your resume out to dozens of employers. But if you put in the effort and keep your network up to date (even when you’re not looking for a job), your efforts will absolutely pay off in the long run, and you will wind up with a job that’s a great fit.

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