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Hidden Job SearchI know the title “The Hidden Job Market” may cause one to envision some rogue website on the dark web, or perhaps some trench coat-clad guy in a hat in an alleyway holding a new employee pack. But in truth, most facets of the hidden job market are in fact hidden in plain sight. Many of us know every aspect of it, we just underestimate its importance in our overall plan. So in effect, we very often hide these strategies from ourselves.

If you are in the midst of a job search right now (or in the near future), here are some things to consider to increase the speed of your search, as well as expand your options:

Professional Relationships

It doesn’t matter how many apps or websites they develop. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will replace good ol’ networking as the #1 avenue for finding employment. The problem is that in an age where everyone’s face is buried in their cell phones, people don’t nurture these relationships the way they should. People prefer to hire those that they either know, or are referred to them by people that they know. Feed and water your most valuable professional relationships often. You never know when you will need them.

LinkedIn

Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that LinkedIn is effectively the job board is the biggest on the planet? We are talking about the largest professional network on the planet, and you would be surprised at the number of professionals who do not even have a LinkedIn account, much less take an active participating stance as they should. As of February 2015, LinkedIn had 347 million users and 40% of them check in on the platform daily. Also, 1 in 20 profiles belong to recruiters. But here is a number to knock your socks off:

94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet their candidates.

So, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, or your profile is naked, what does that say to them? Fully develop your profile and ensure that it is optimized for those searching four your skill set. And don’t forget to participate in LinkedIn group discussions.

Opportunities Never Posted

It is well known that more than half of available positions are filled before the positions even become public. If this is the case, then you’re only accessing less than half of them by only applying to posted openings, right? There is no need to wait for a posting to contact an employer to put your resume in their system BEFORE the opening comes available. If you are an accountant and think Proctor and Gamble would be a great place to work. Submit your resume now! Don’t wait for a posting that may never come. Also, try hunting down a hiring authority in a department in which you can contribute and reach out. Need a name but the front desk won’t give it? The folks in the mail room might help you. (Yes, I used this one in the past). Also, remember that LinkedIn thing? That is a good way to touch base with someone in that company as well.

Niche Job Boards

Everyone knows about the popular job boards such as Monster.com, Careerbuilders.com, Indeed.com and glassdoor.com. So if everyone knows about it, then the competition is going to be greater. Look for those boards that specialize in your niche. If you are in sales, have you ever heard of SalesCareerForum, SalesClassifieds or SalesGravy? How about you accountants? Have you accessed websites such as AccountingJobsToday, Bankjobs or FinancialJobBank?

Professional Associations

We all know that associations are a great way to keep your ear to the ground with regard to changes in your profession or industry. But communicating with your fellow association members is also a good way to find out the latest on employment opportunity developments. Association websites will sometimes communicate employment opportunities you won’t see on the job boards simply because the likelihood of receiving resumes from those who meet the qualifications are greater. Additionally, your fellow professionals with other companies are likely to know when the department is expanding or looking to hire. And don’t forget to attend the annual conventions to see find out the buzz regarding opportunities available for those in your field.

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