When you decide to dive into job search – what is your first step? Do you go to the big online job boards – Career Builder, Monster, Indeed? All are great resources, but did you know that many companies don't post their jobs on the “big boards” that we all think to search first? The jobs I'm referring to are what career specialists call “Hidden Jobs”, and just like the sweepstakes I choose to enter, they often have the best odds!
So how do you find these jobs that aren't as widely publicized? There are several ways to go about it, but know that this type of sleuthing is not for the casual job-seeker. It takes some work, but the work often pays off.
First – I recommend making a list of companies you would love to work for. Where I live, we have a magazine that puts out an annual issue with the best places to work. I would steal one or two from there, as well as list a few companies with visions aligning with mine. Once you've made your list (I suggest starting with around 10 companies), then the real detective work starts. Get familiar with your local newspaper, or newspaper website (which I prefer), and read it frequently. What you are looking for are articles that talk about new ventures and hiring trends like this one – which gives info about a hospital in a county that borders mine, looking to add 140 new jobs this year. If I am a healthcare profession, you'd better believe that I am going to be stalking that hospital like it's my job, because frankly, if I do it right – it could be. I would be looking for HR contacts within the company so that I could send my résumé, and make my qualifications and interest known.
It's not always so complicated though. Sometimes you just need to visit the websites of companies that interest you. While they may not have the time, or feel the need to post their positions on a large job board, they will often post their jobs on their own private careers page. Add some company web pages to your favorites list and check them frequently. Positions may only be posted for a few days, so it's important to be vigilant.
One other trick for staying up to date on industry news is using Google Alerts. You can use this free service to arrange to get periodic web searches for keywords you choose send directly to you. I mentioned to you previously that one day I want to work for Milton Hershey School - so I could set up a search using the school's name and get related updates and news articles. You can do the same with companies you are interested in. Don't worry about being inundated with emails. You can select to receive alerts with any level of frequency you want.
Next comes everyone's favorite – networking. Go ahead and express your communal groans now. I know it's not the most fun or comfortable task in the world, but it's one that gets results. You can find jobs that never get posted by utilizing your personal network, professional connections, and alumni groups. I'll be sharing a post soon which breaks down the “how-to's” of networking in a more approachable way, but for now – know that you can't live in a bubble and expect to find out about the best opportunities. Those are reserved for the most connected.
My final suggestion involves doing something that is very against the nature of most of us. To find hidden jobs, sometimes you have to ask for them. It may sound too bold, and many times you might get rejected, but those who get what they want are often those who ask for it. I've only done this once, and it was for a seasonal position; but doing so changed the trajectory of my career. I have to be honest and tell you that at first, I got “no” for an answer, but my boldness eventually paid off, and I'm writing for you now because of it.
The figure is often debated, but some have estimated that hidden jobs have comprised up to 80% of the job market at different times. I figure that's a little high, but even if these jobs represent 20% of the workforce, that's enough to make me want to go after them. Hide and Seek. Dream job – you're “It”!
Image courtesy of [jscreationzs] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net