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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.

Stuck at Step 1?

[Return to Step-by Step Hidden Job Market, Step 1]

Step 1: Focus on Your Selling Points

Many job seekers get stuck here. It's much easier to read a help-wanted ad and say "I can do that," than to define your own selling points. (The good news is: if you get past this step you have "lost" much of the competition. You won't be one of 200 applying for an "I can do that" job--you'll be closer to spotting the employers who aren't drowning in resumes and applications.)


1. Explore JobStar's Job Ad section. This time you're not looking for a job, you're looking at the position descriptions. When you see a "I can do that" requirement or need in a job ad, write it down. Create a list of "I can do that" statements. Make sure these are things you WANT to do. Then, in another column, write down PERFORMANCE statements that show where and how you have done this activity and the value to the employer.

2. Take a look at other resumes in your field with Yahoo's Resume Listings. Note that the resumes you see here aren't necessarily GOOD resumes--but you'll get an idea of how others in your field present themselves and their selling points.

3. Visit a Career Center for help with defining your selling points. Career Centers are EXCELLENT at helping you work through a definition of your selling points and goals. Classes, workshops, resource centers and individual counseling can make a big difference to your job search.

Recommended Reading for Defining Your Selling Points:

Search Your Library

  • What Color is Your Parachute? Richard Bolles. Ten Speed Press. (Both the book and the online version have a section on job hunting on the Internet.)
  • I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was. Barbara Sher. Dell Trade Paperback.
  • Targeting the Job You Want. Kate Wendleton. Five O'Clock Books.
  • Marketing Yourself: The Ultimate Job Seeker's Guide. Dorothy Leeds. Harper Perennial.