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by Rob Porter | April 03, 2024


When conducting a job search, it can help to think outside the box. For instance, you might learn about an open position even when a company hasn’t posted an official job listing. In fact, only around 20% of available jobs are ever officially posted, and the remaining jobs make up what we call the hidden job market. Today we’re going to show you some strategies for accessing and exploring the hidden job market. Let’s begin.

Leverage Your Professional Network

A good way to gain access to the hidden job market is through your professional network. You could ask network connections about any existing opportunities that their employers aren’t currently listing, or whether they have any information about upcoming job openings. In addition to this, you could make new connections with individuals who work at companies you’re interested in to see if you can gain any information about potential job openings. Either way, you can ask your contacts to keep you in mind if anything opens up in the future.

Join Social Media Groups

If you haven’t already, now would be a great time to start seeking out social media groups that are relevant to your career and interests. These groups are great for learning about new opportunities, industry trends, notable individuals, and of course, for making new connections. The key to making social media groups work for you is to remain active and take in as much information as you can.

Using the above advice about leveraging network connections can also help you here, as you may be able to learn about upcoming job openings before they’re officially posted. The difference is, by joining social media groups you’ll be able to cast a much wider net. Another great aspect of social media groups is that you’ll be able to learn about upcoming industry and networking events, which brings us to our next entry.

Attend Events

By attending networking and industry events, you can get a good idea of what to expect from potential employers with regards to their hiring process, perks and benefits, and workplace culture, among other things. In addition to this, you’ll have the opportunity to meet tons of new people, so don’t be afraid to strike up some conversations. By doing so, you may be able to get leads on upcoming job openings or other opportunities. If you meet any new people at an event, be sure you connect with them on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to speak with representatives from multiple companies. If you’ve got your ducks in a row and you come off as a confident, capable candidate, there’s a good chance you’ll make a great impression on the company representatives you speak with. In certain cases, this could lead to a direct pathway to a new job opportunity even in the absence of an official job listing.

Connect with Recruiters

Of course, you could also seek out recruiters to help you explore the hidden job market. By conducting a little research, you may be able to identify recruiters who are currently working on behalf of companies that are looking for new talent. It’s important to treat this situation just like meeting a new network connection—don’t just rush in asking about job opportunities. First, connect with the recruiter on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, and spend some time getting to know them.

Think of your interactions with the recruiter as opportunities to demonstrate your professionalism, interest in your role and industry, and when the time is right, your skills and achievements. If the recruiter has the inside track on a new opportunity and they think you’d be a great fit, they might be able to connect you with the company’s hiring manager before a listing is even created.

Contact Companies Directly

In your travels on ye olde internet, you may come across companies that interest you for one reason or another. Whether it’s a company’s mission and values, the types of products and services it offers, or the company culture, you may find yourself wishing you could work there. The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be a job listing for your role. This is where the wonders of the hidden job market come into play.

Just because a company doesn’t seem to be hiring your role at the moment doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and express interest in working there. The first thing you want to do is conduct some research to ensure that you’d be a good fit. Take a look at the company’s website and social media platforms and check out the leadership teams’ LinkedIn profiles—do the company’s values align with your own? Do you possess the skills needed to perform the role you’re looking to get into?

The next thing you want to do is make contact with the company in question. This is typically achieved by sending an email to the address provided on a company’s careers page. Here is an example email for you to work off of:

Subject: Inquiry Regarding Job Opportunities at [Company Name]

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name]/Dear Hiring Team,

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I am writing to express my interest in potential job opportunities at [Company Name]. With a background in [Your Field/Area of Expertise] and a passion for [Specific Industry or Field], I am eager to contribute my skills and expertise to your organization.

I recently came across [Company Name] and was impressed by your commitment to [mention any recent achievements, initiatives, or mission and values]. I’m particularly drawn to [specific department or team] and I believe my experience aligns with the responsibilities and goals of the team.

[Provide a brief overview of your relevant experience, skills, and accomplishments. Include any quantifiable examples.]

I have attached my resume for your review, and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss how my background and skills align with the needs of your organization. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] to schedule a conversation at your earliest convenience.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

{Your Contact Information]

Of course, your email could look very different depending on your role, industry, and whether you have had prior contact with the hiring manager at the company in question. If you decided to cold call a company with the same purpose in mind, you may use the above example as a script to work off of, but keep in mind that an email and a conversation are two totally different things. In other words, you’ll have to be more conversational, and it’s important to come off as natural rather than wooden or over-rehearsed.