The news these days is always full of unemployment numbers, downsizing, and news of businesses spending less money. For people actively job searching, the competition for any open job can be furious. The job search process can be frustrating for a candidate that sends out hundreds of resumes and gets no response.
As reported by CNN, the job openings posted on job boards and printed in the newspaper only add up to about 20% of open positions. Where are the rest of these open jobs? The 80% of open positions that aren’t posted publicly are filled through a hidden job market. Candidates that can tap into the unadvertised job market can automatically put themselves far and above their competition.
Using Networking to Achieve Job Search Success
The old adage states that what matters is “who you know”, and this is especially true for this hidden job market. Many businesses fill positions with people who are known to them, or in some cases create positions based on the skills of people they want to add to their organization. These jobs are filled without needing to be posted on a job board or in the newspaper.
It might be more accurate to say that what matters is “who knows what you know”. The secret to tapping this vast pool of open jobs is networking, and being in contact with the right person when the opportunity presents itself. Many managers, when a new opportunity becomes available in their company, will think about who they know that would fit the new position.
Leveraging Social Media
Networking is the key to tapping the unadvertised job market. However, networking in 2010 is far different than the last-century meet-and-greets and after-hours events. Today’s job search relies on social media and tapping into personal and professional networks to find those unadvertised job openings.
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn can be used to significantly augment networking efforts by finding by leveraging first and second level contacts. These contacts can help candidates to expand their exposure to people in the companies and industries that they are interested in. As new contacts are added into a network, the number of second degree contacts expands exponentially, greatly increasing the chance that one of the contacts will think of the candidate when an opportunity arises. Social media tools make networking easy and fast, and there’s no excuse not to take advantage of these tools.
Cultivating Social Media Networks
Candidates can’t just add contacts to their social media network and hope for the best. It’s up to the individual to actively cultivate each of their contacts and allow for relationships to grow. Provide contacts with value by sending them information that could be useful to them without expecting anything in return. Carry on conversations, ask questions about their industry, and ask their opinions about industry issues.
By actively engaging with the people within personal and professional social networks, someone in the midst of a job search can move to the forefront of their contacts’ minds when a new position arises in their company.
Job Search During Recession and Poor Economy
Being laid off from a job is not uncommon in today’s economy since thousands of others are in the same situation. But don’t get discouraged. People who have worked for companies for 10, 20, or more years are finding themselves unemployed. Instead of trying to find a job, they are ‘re-creating themselves’ and finding a more satisfying and rewarding career in many instances.
Exactly how can a person be successful when searching for a job in a poor economy?
Turn a Hobby into a Business
Many people find that their hobbies can now be parlayed into something much more. Examine a hobby and see if there is a need in the market and then get busy creating a business. Jewelry-making, graphic design, painting, restoring vintage cars, writing, and many other things can be turned into money-makers with some creativity and persistence.
Many of the Best Jobs are Never Advertised
Looking for unadvertised jobs takes creativity but it can be done. Network with people who may know about them, schedule informational interviews, read newspaper articles about how companies are changing, and look for clues that jobs may exist. The broader a network of friends, former colleagues, and acquaintances, the more potential there is in landing a job this way.
Treat Every Discussion Like an Interview
Set up informational interviews with people. Even if there is no job opening, hiring managers are often willing to “make a job opening” for people with exceptional talent and experience. Schedule an informational interview to learn about an organization and take advantage of the time to skillfully land a future position. A job offer may emerge now or in the future.
Make an Offer they Can’t Refuse
Employers love creativity and confidence. Confident people can contribute greatly to an organization’s mission, goals, and future success. Approach people with an offer to perform work that relies on specific abilities to produce an outcome — and if that outcome is not achieved, there is no full time job for the future. But, if that outcome is achieved, there is a commitment for long-term employment. Research the jobs carefully and make sure it can be successfully accomplished first and then go for it.
This is a great way to demonstrate skills and abilities without a company having to commit long-term employment options. Seek companies looking for part-time or consulting positions. Make proposals for freelance services and always exceed expectations. There may be a future full-time job offer in the making based on performance.
Turn to the Online Community
Many people have found success with online businesses. Create a need and establish a business. A blog, website, or other social networking strategy can get the word out. For people who have a great craft talent, check out www.Etsy.com where thousands of sellers have found a niche for homemade items.
Don’t rely on traditional methods of job searches in a poor economy. Employers have the luxury of searching for the best and most creative people they can find. Always stand head and shoulders above the rest by being creative and demonstrating a strong commitment to quality, integrity, and reliability.