SPEAKERS CORNER: Alex Freund’s 5 Tips for Penetrating the Hidden Job Market
By Candace Waller
As many job seekers are finding out, the rules for finding a job have changed drastically in recent years. The way you found your job five years ago won’t work today.
Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Google + and Twitter are critical now in finding and networking with those in position to hire. Job applicants must understand the etiquette of connecting online.
The sheer numbers of people looking for work has complicated things further and put the power with companies, not job seekers.
Therefore penetrating the hidden job market has become critical, especially for those out of work for six month or more. Alex Freund’s tips on finding unpublicized jobs provide new insights and ideas.
1) Network with smaller companies.
People want to work for large companies for reasons including better pay and benefits. Large firms may be top heavy and use layoffs to restructure and become leaner. Job opportunities posted at larger companies can be misleading. Candidates apply, thinking they have a shot, when in reality the jobs have been advertised to fulfill legal guidelines, and internal candidates are hired.
In a weak economy, smaller companies hire more. Smaller companies may not offer all the benefits of larger companies, but they tend to be understaffed and need to hire. Progression to higher-level titles may move faster with smaller businesses.
2) Take on temp and short-term assignments.
Some applicants feel that short term assignments, especially those lasting six months or less, are a waste of time. Nothing can be further from the truth: approximately 13.5 percent of jobs are contingent, meaning they are part-time, temporary or contract. Companies often do this to test a candidate for fit with the corporate culture and co-workers.
Short-time positions often turn into full-time positions. Applicants for contingent assignments should demonstrate their ability to make positive contributions to the company. This is the time to really show what you can do as these assignments may lead to full-time positions or provide valuable connections and references that can help you get into other companies.
3) Learn how to talk with people in person and online.
Most jobs are not published because they are filled via referrals. Don’t be shy about letting people know that you are looking for work. Attending networking groups, career events and job fairs is a good way to build up your list of contacts.
Many colleges have career centers that can be accessed by alumni. Reaching out to alumni that graduated from the same school is a great way to build contacts. Send out emails asking for information then follow-up with a phone call. People want to be helpful and love talking about themselves.
4) Put more time into your job search.
Most applicants only dedicate six to ten hours a week to their job search whereas the successful job candidate spends about 40 hours a week searching for work. This includes attending career fairs, networking meetings and job programs; applying for positions online; networking online; and volunteering. Applicants can also take advantage of classes given by the Department of Labor, public libraries and career networking groups to improve their skills.
Many job seekers become discouraged if one person in a company says no but it often takes several contacts to get a position. Other people at the company could be your advocate, so don’t give up if one person says no.
5) Generate more job leads.
Attend different job networking events and careers fairs to network with an expanding group of contacts. Go to: http://www.landingexpert.com/ec/210/NetworkingEvents.pdf for a list of the majority of the networking clubs and events in the tri-state area. Go to different groups and locations to find a group that fits your needs.
Other ways to generate leads include:
- Checking out articles and listing in newspapers and online to find out who is hiring
- Search engines
- Religious organizations
- Alumni groups
- College Career Centers
- Sororities and fraternities
- Volunteer organizations
- Former employees and colleagues
- Family and friends
Bonus Tip: Ignore that little voice in your head that says discouraging things.
Applicants may be their own worst enemy by listening to, and believing, the negative thoughts in their minds. You must believe in yourself and your abilities. The more positive you feel and act, the more likely others will want to help you with your job search.
Feeling that no one will help you may be confirmed if the first person you speak to isn’t helpful. However you must keep going; don’t give up. Eventually you will find a job and that process will go much faster if you look for jobs in the hidden job market.
Alex Freund of Landing Expert Career Coaching has worked with hundreds of job seekers. He does more than demonstrate how to interview successfully; his clients actually learn to convert their weaknesses to strengths. Alex knows what hiring managers are thinking and what they’re looking for. He reveals employers’ thought processes, their needs, and the various tricks they use to determine who gets hired and who gets forgotten. Even in this tough economy, a significant percentage of Landing Expert clients have recently landed excellent jobs. His website landingexpert.com features tips, resources and a 70 plus pages list of information on where career groups meet in the tri-state area (link above). Alex can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.