10 Steps to Unlock the Hidden Job Market

Everyday I help people get in touch with the contacts they need to reach. I help them to access the hidden job market, usually with one goal in mind. Get an interview.

So how do we help you unlock this often untapped resource? And can you do some or all of it on your own? Here are the steps I take with each new custom research client and yes, with the correct tools you can do a majority of this on your own, if desired.

1. Take a close look at your skills, experiences and accomplishments from your career and education. Consider what industries you have come from and those in which you want to work.

2. Our economy is recovering, but you will still need to determine what other sectors might value your skills and accomplishments, and include those industries as well.

3. Determine what geographic area(s) you would like to target. Would you consider moving for the right job offer? If so, determine all locations of interest.

4. Conduct research in each industry/geographic area and find companies you think will be a good fit. I use a professional subscription to Hoovers, along with several other resources, and run detailed lists sorted by area, industry, company revenue & number of employees. Most public libraries will have similar databases such as Reference USA.

5. Take the list of companies you feel will be a good fit, and identify the key executives that you want to contact. Don’t limit yourself to only contacting HR.. remember, you are trying to find the unadvertised jobs by going directly to the source. So you will want to find the names of the entire C-suite – CEO, COO, CFO, CHRO.. and depending on the industry/position you are interested in, possibly the CLO, CMO or CIO. How do you find this information? Some databases will help you get started, otherwise you can check the company website, or the good old fashioned way – pick up the phone and call.

6. Once you have your list of companies and executives complete, I recommend finding their direct work email address. I have an involved process I have created over the years to find those elusive emails – I can’t share my secrets here! I will say, I do not recommend buying lists from a list broker, emails are notoriously incorrect and out of date. If you can not find direct emails yourself I recommend skipping this step and going directly to step 8.

7. Compose a direct, compelling message to introduce yourself and your job search goals – make sure to ask for what you want… an interview or referrals! Email each executive with your resume attached.

For qualified executives sending a compelling message, this works extremely well. You may never have to complete step 8.

8. Do what most job seekers are reluctant to do… pick up the phone and start calling people. Discuss with them the state of the industry, their company and if they have any hiring needs that match your skill set.

9. If they have no hiring needs now, or in the near future, they will tell you. But nothing is lost and you have just made a good contact for the future.

10. Often, they will know of some openings – either within their own company, or via board connections, etc. Listen, ask for more information, and follow up as necessary. There is no better introduction into a company than to say, “Fred Smith, CEO of Smith Foods recommended I call you to discuss your need for a qualified finance executive”

These 10 Steps are the very basics of finding the hidden jobs. It all boils down to networking with the correct people, at the companies that will be interested in you. Remember, if you can find just 5 openings where you are speaking directly with someone capable of hiring you, you stand a good chance of getting an interview.

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