Late last year, Forbes published an article called “How to Tap into the Hidden Job Market.” While this almost sounds like a fictional piece of advice, conjuring up images of darkweb job-hunting services and secret handshakes, the “hidden job market” is actually a very real thing.
Perhaps the bad news, then, is that it’s much less thrilling or salacious than it probably sounds. So let’s dive into the hidden job market and demystify the terminology so you can make use of this valuable job-hunting tool.
Networking is the gateway to the hidden job market
When most people use the term “hidden job market” nowadays, they’re simply referring to the art of networking. The idea is that if you’re actively networking, you’ll end up learning about jobs before they’re posted, and you’ll have more access to people who make hiring decisions. As you can see, there are valuable benefits of networking that will make you more competitive than people who are randomly searching job boards and hoping to find something that works for them.
So where do you start building your job network? Well, that depends on what field you’re looking at getting into. We typically advise job seekers to watch for conferences that are feasible to attend. If you’re a graphic designer, look for Adobe events. If you’re a writer, look for writer conferences. If you’re working in healthcare, look at conferences related to the healthcare industry.
The reason we love conferences so much is that they’re incredible opportunities to meet the people who you would otherwise never meet until several steps into the hiring process. Dress well, bring business cards, and mingle with likeminded folks in your industry. You’d be surprised at how often this leads to finding out about an opportunity that’s not even been posted yet. Since you often end up talking directly with the people who make hiring decisions already, you’ll end up “cutting in line” so to speak, getting ahead of the competition.
Networking doesn’t always need to be done in person
Of course, in 2021, the virtual meetup space is just as active as the in-person one (if not more so). Not only are there virtual meetups for just about any topic you can dream up, but social networks have become critical landmarks on the networking roadmap.
At the very least, you’re going to want a LinkedIn account. Upload your resume, a professional headshot, and some information about your job history. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you start receiving information about up-and-coming job openings.
We could talk about the benefits of social media for an entire article. In fact, we’ve already done that, so you can check out our article “Why Social Media Matters for Job Seekers” if you want to know much, much more about this topic. The short version, though, is that if networking is a gateway to the hidden market, then social networks are your digital key.
Staffing Proxy can help you tap into the hidden job market
If you’re not sure where to start, talk to a staffing agency, such as Staffing Proxy. Oftentimes, we get the scoop on job openings before they go public, and sometimes there are companies who will only fill openings via contracting agencies.
This means that even if you can’t attend networking events in person, and even if your LinkedIn profile isn’t getting a lot of traction, you still have someone to turn to for help with the hidden job market. Even if you haven’t exhausted other avenues, you shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with a staffing agency. Who knows? Your dream job might be just a phone call away.
Yes, the “hidden job market” is real, but no, it doesn’t involve secret passwords or trench coats. Savvy job seekers should be actively looking for new ways to uncover the hidden job opportunities that are opening up just about every day. Doing so will put you ahead of the competition in a very real way, and it might even lead you to possibilities that you never even knew existed.