At present the job market is extremely competitive. Not many people that apply online receive a positive response from their online application. There are a number of reasons for this and one of the most important is the “hidden  job market”.

What is the hidden job market?

The hidden job market is a term used to describe jobs that aren’t posted online or advertised. 75-80% of job vacancies are never advertised. These unadvertised jobs are called ‘the hidden job market‘. In fact some antidotes suggest that in the current job market it could be as high as 85% in the mining industry.

A lot of job seekers are missing out on great opportunities because they are not tapping into this great market but with the right strategy they can dramatically reduce their time in the ‘wilderness’ and take away the stress and heartache of job searching.

What drives the hidden job market?

Many employers choose to hire internally or through their professional network. It is understandable why this occurs. Many hiring managers want to avoid the higher cost, complexity and lengthy process of open online applications. Instead of posting a job opening, some employers will choose other alternatives such as going through a recruiting firm, head-hunters, and referrals from current employees.

How can you benefit?

Job seekers can tap the hidden job market by using networking connections to help find unadvertised job openings. If you’re only using online job listings to look for work, you’re missing out on most of the jobs out there.

What you need to do

Make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to find you. There are four key resources and activities that you need in order to tap into the Hidden job market.

1. Resume

Hiring managers will often conduct short informal interviews of people that have been referred to them. In order to follow company policy or to simplify the process, managers will ask interviewees to apply for positions online only to have their resume stopped by Application Tracking Systems. Application tracking systems and other recruitment software use algorithms or filters that screen by skills, experience and qualifications but recruiters and hiring managers will only see your resume after it has passed though these filters. Your resume is still one of your most important tools. You still need to write a compelling resume.

2. Online Profile

94% of hiring managers and recruiters review online profiles before deciding whether to invite a candidate in for an interview or to progress an application. Having an online profile now is not an option, it is a necessity. Make sure that you have a well-crafted online profile.

3. Build or expand your Network

All of us have networks. We have friends, families, work colleagues, hobby groups, kids sport groups. The list goes on. There are whole groups dedicated just to networking. One of the best ways of hearing about jobs and finding out who to talk to is through the use of your network. You may want to consider building or expanding your network. There are many professional groups just dedicated to this task. It’s just a matter of finding a method that you feel comfortable with. Some career marketing coaches specialise in this area.

4. Industry and market research

Conduct some industry research prior to kick-starting your networking and meetings. A key plank of networking is to be able to bring something useful to the table. With all of the information that is available online now you really need to conduct some research on your industry prior to commencing your search. This can be a little time consuming but it will pay dividends.

What are the impediments to entering the Hidden Job Market?

1. You don’t know where to start

Most people are more used to looking for jobs through job boards. Some more adventurous people ask their friends and work colleagues about opportunities. Most people don’t think of using the hidden job market as a strategy because it is not an orthodox method however many job seekers find this method to be the most rewarding, particularly at times when jobs are more difficult to come by.

2. You don’t know how to network or you’re too scared to start

There are a lot of networking groups that can help you get started with networking. It may take you a little longer for you but it is just a matter of finding a method that you are comfortable with. Better still, enlist the help of a career marketing coach.

Your options

You may want to consider the help of a career marketing professional. They know the market, they are experts in career marketing techniques. They are able to craft your resume, cover letter and online profile. For a very small investment, this service can be all that is required in order to ensure that your application has the greatest chance of being shortlist for your next job interview. In addition they are able to assist with interview techniques, show you how to conduct industry research and market yourself to the Hidden job market.