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Hidden Job Market Logo

The best jobs are never advertised.

Find out why and what to do about it.
How to network, research employers and create your own Hidden Job Market plan.

Hidden Job Market - What is it?

There are only two ways to look for a job.

  1. The Employer looks for you.

    ADVERTISED Job Market
    Where is the ADVERTISED Job Market?

  2. You look for the employer.

    HIDDEN Job Market
    Where is the HIDDEN Job Market?

How Can JobStar Help Your Hidden Job Market Search?

When the Employer looks for you --

Most of JobStar focuses on Job Ads--the Advertised Job Market: classified ads, employer hotlines, job banks and large Internet recruitment sites. Job seekers are comfortable with the Advertised Job Market because it makes sense to go where you're being invited.

The Advertised Job Market is frustrating and slow and troublesome for BOTH the employer and the applicant. For the applicant, it means lots of competition--particularly for entry-level positions. For the more experienced or specialized worker, the Advertised Job Market may barely exist: the employer's network is faster, cheaper and more effective than advertising.

People DO find jobs through the Advertised Job Market: most often job seekers who meet or exceed employer requirements (and submit a resume and a cover letter that are on target.) But the Advertised Job Market is only a tiny fraction of available jobs. The best positions (no matter how you define "best") are never advertised.

[Take JobStar's Hidden Job Market Quiz to see if the Hidden Job Market will help your job search.]

Where is the Advertised Job Market?

Some segments of the workforce rely on the Advertised Job Market for the majority of their job openings. Government jobs at federal, state and local levels are routinely announced via distributed job postings, employment hotlines and classified ads.

Within the private sector, the Advertised Job Market is linked to high demand and low supply of workers: computers (certain hardware, software, network systems) and biotechnology are currently "hot."

The Advertised Job Market is also productive where there is high demand and high turnover--such as telephone sales. Employers in both types of situations are motivated to set up employer hotlines, participate in job fairs and advertise positions in the newspaper or on the Internet.

If your skill set or industry setting are not in "high-gear," you are probably frustrated by the lack of advertised job openings. Employers in your industry may not have to advertise: enough acceptable candidates are finding them and saving the employer the trouble of looking.

But even if your skills are in high demand, you may be missing out on the right job for you. 80% of all jobs--in many cases jobs created FOR a specific job seeker--are NEVER advertised.

When YOU look for the Employer --
Job Market

80% of all positions are filled without employer advertising. These positions are filled by--or created for--candidates who come to an employer's attention through employee recommendations, referrals from trusted associates, recruiters, or direct contact with the candidate.

Successful Hidden Job Market candidates are able to connect with the employer's network. Does this mean the employer knows them? Not necessarily. But the candidate comes "pre-recommended" by someone the employer trusts. Networking, using your contacts to connect with the employer's contacts, is the key to the Hidden Job Market.

Where is the Hidden Job Market?

The Hidden Job Market is as close as your telephone, e-mail account or next professional association meeting. Your contacts--and those you meet through your contacts--can help you learn about positions, projects or needs that will not be formally announced.

Employers are constantly on the lookout for suitable candidates to replace departing, retiring or inefficient workers, to work on new projects or to add expertise in a particular area.

Calling employers without a referral, or a connection, no matter how slight, is known as a "cold" call. Cold calls may result in an interview--but you will have to be prepared for lots of rejections along the way. Networking, using referrals as an introduction, is less stressful and more productive.

How Can JobStar help your Hidden Job Market Search?

The most important Hidden Job Market information will come from your network. If you have to choose between networking ("getting out there and talking to people") and using JobStar--spend your time networking! Networking leads to jobs.

Information found through JobStar, on the Internet or in your public library can help you prepare to network. Use the Step by Step Plan for Finding the Jobs that are Never Advertised to develop your contact list, to learn how your industry operates, and to investigate individual employers.

Your time spent in preparation--and detective work--will pay off by helping you become an industry insider: one who knows whom to call and how to present the benefits of hiring you to a specific employer.