Sometimes the job market can be a difficult place to navigate. You might find the process more daunting if you have a niche job or specialty like various jobs in the environmental sector. Opportunities for environmental technicians, mining engineers, geologists, and hydrogeologist are positions with sparse job postings which can be few and far between. As a result, you might have your work cut out for you when job searching. So, what do you do if you are having difficulty finding employment? You try to tap into the hidden job market.
Some ways to access the hidden job market….
Utilize LinkedIn effectively. LinkedIn is an amazing networking platform so sign up if you have not already done so and put yourself out there. Remember, having a professional photo is essential to creating a great profile. Once you have completed your profile, join groups relating to your field, be active in the groups’ discussions and try to post relevant content to get yourself noticed. You should also do some research on individuals currently employed in your desired job. Check out the professional organizations they are a part of and be sure to look at the organizations they have worked for in the past. Keep a record of these organizations and their contact information.
Target area-specific job boards when searching online. If you have a niche job for instance, a basic Google search for niche job boards can provide you with a list of boards for different niches. Some niche job boards include: http://www.conbio.org and http://www.ecojobs.com which are good for environmental jobs, http://www.scmajobs.ca for logistics and http://www.freshgigs.ca for marketing and advertising. Google is a very effective tool, so utilize it. Sign up for Google News Alerts http://www.google.ca/alerts. Google alerts will provide up to the minute information on your specified interests. For instance, Google can alert you if a company signs a major contract or partnership, or acquires a new facility. These are great indicators that the company is growing and might be hiring in the near future. Google alerts will help you stay up-to-date with what is happening in your field and can provide vital information that will help you access the hidden job market.
Cold calling can also help you gain access to the hidden job market. Start with companies you recorded from LinkedIn and get someone on the phone. Always do your research before attempting to contact anyone. Have a script prepared and ensure you have an engaging opening line. When you speak with someone, be polite and personable, keep in mind that “gatekeepers are your allies, not your foes,” you do not want to give them a reason to tell you “no” outright, when you ask about scheduling a time to meet a key member of the organization for an interview. Since only a fraction of open positions are posted on job boards, cold calling is an effective method to facilitate access to the hidden job market.
Networking with industry insiders can also grant you access to the hidden job market. Insiders can provide advice, tips and referrals to aide your job search. So, go to conferences and trade shows and actively participate in your industry. Another way to network is with an informational interview. Such meetings are an underused resource that is effective at generating leads. An informational interview also gives you the opportunity to liaise with an industry insider who can help guide your career path and answer important questions. It can sometimes be tricky to get an individual to agree to this type of meeting, but it is not an impossible feat. Look into http://www.tenthousandcoffees.com. It is an excellent resource to help connect you with the right people. Once you have secured a meeting, be professional and have an agenda prepared. Know exactly what you wish to accomplish with your meeting and do not be afraid to ask for referrals! And always send a follow up note thanking the individual for taking the time to meet with you.
Most importantly, be persistent and do not get discouraged. Tapping into the hidden job market is not impossible, but you do need to be vigilant. Start by creating a professional LinkedIn page and network with individuals in your field. Be thorough with your internet search and stay-up-to-date with news pertaining to your field with Google Alerts. After compiling a list of companies in your field, cold call them. Get someone on the phone and try to set up an in person meeting. Connect with anyone willing to sit down with you and pick their brain for advice, tips and referrals. Networking is a great way to gain access to information and meet key people who can provide leads to help secure interviews. When you finally get that interview, be prepared and confident. Always have an interview outfit picked out and ironed! Lastly, be sure to do your research on the organization before stepping through the door!
Now that you have the keys to unlock the hidden job market, you will be a job search rock star!
Contributed by: Jodi Darby