9 Ways To Tap Into The Hidden Job Market

job search connectionsBy Miriam Salpeter

With summer upon us, some of you job-seekers may think about taking a break from your search. Instead, you might want to ramp up your efforts and consider the new season as an opportunity to relaunch any unfinished career plans.

One inevitable aspect of the search? Interacting and engaging with connections -- extending your network to tap into the hidden job market. Sudy Bharadwaj is the co-founder and chief executive officer of JackalopeJobs.com, which allows you to log in with your favorite social network and learn which of your connections work in companies that interest you. He has seen many job-seekers benefit from carefully accessing their extended network. Here are Bharadwaj's nine suggestions for successfully networking your way to a job:

1. Connect with your network before you apply for positions.

Even if you identify jobs via boards or postings, touch base with connections before applying directly. Many organizations prioritize applicants who are referred by employees. Some companies even give bonuses to employees who suggest candidates who are hired, so some networking contacts may have a financial incentive to pass along your information. Don't be shy about reaching out and asking for a hand.

2. Rotate your thinking.

Bharadwaj suggests: "Instead of finding jobs and focusing on connections in those companies, consider targeting your connections first and investigating who among them may be able to provide a link to a potential opportunity."

To be successful, it's important to know what you want and to be able to articulate how you can help an organization solve its problems. Once you know what you offer and how it relates to companies where you want to work, it will be much easier to leverage your network of contacts who can help you land jobs successfully.

3. Encourage your network by making it easy for them to help you.

Bharadwaj reminds job-seekers: "Your connections are busy -- aren't we all? It's up to the job-seeker to be specific when asking for a connection. Forward the job description and information about your background and skills. Tell the contact exactly how he or she can help you."

4. Be concise and offer easy access to your information.

It's likely your contacts will access your information or email inquiry via their smartphones. Include all key points in the body of your email, such as links to online social resumes or your LinkedIn profile, instead of asking them to download and view your resume.

5. Go wide.

Spread out your inquiries; try not to ask one person for too many things. Most people will want to help, but if it seems you are knocking on their door every week, the welcome will wear out quickly.

6. Don't go too deep.

Even though social networks allow easy access to distant contacts of contacts, you should focus your interactions on contacts who know you well. Bharadwaj explains, "Unless a connection is very close to you, don't bog them down with numerous requests. Your first-degree contacts are the ones most likely to go the extra mile for you."

7. Limit time requests.

Unless you are already good friends with your contact, "Don't ask to meet for lunch or dinner, since it seems like a big time commitment," Bharadwaj says. "Instead, when asking for in-person meetings, offer to bring coffee to the office or to meet at another convenient location for a 15- to 30-minute coffee break."

8. Be patient.

Don't give up on a connection if the first targeted job opening doesn't work out. Keep in mind, if a contact believes in you, and future opportunities at the company are good fits, you may be successful connecting with a job that isn't advertised yet. "We have seen successful job-seekers who do not get job No. 1, No. 2 or even No. 3, but whose networking enabled a relationship with a new connection that led them to landing job No.4."

9. Keep track and follow up.

No one likes to feel used; be sure to follow up with contacts who help you and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Send a note or an email to let people know where you are in your search, and whom you've met per their recommendations. Send notes, links to articles they may appreciate, and touch base even when you don't need anything. When you do, you'll create relationships that extend beyond your immediate job search needs.

Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to empower their success.

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I agree bwyou812, I am unemployed and desperate for work but finding it very difficult, I find it disheartening when im filling out hundreds of forms/applications and get little/no responses what so ever, I recently had 2 interviews both where small roles and still didnt get either job! One of these interviews I attended I was making small talk with one of the assistants on walk to the managers office, she said to me "there is no need to be nervous, it is only (the companies name)" obviously I was shocked and never mentioned it to the manager, needless to say I never got the job because of lack of GCSE (yet I wasnt even given the chance of a test) which I would have taken 10 years ago anyway. It makes me so angry and upset at the same time, as these young numpties dont want to work and I am desperate to be given a chance. Young people do not know the struggle and take advantage of the small jobs they have whereas I would and have to consider anything!

March 11 2013 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have developed a unique system to succeed in getting advertized jobs. This is described on my website: www.Yes-Icanhelpyou.com

December 10 2012 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have developed a unique system to get jobs that are not advertized. It is called "Tapping the Hidden Job Market" and more information is provided on my website: http://www.yes-icanhelpyou.com.

December 10 2012 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Many connect through Facebook and posting obsence jokes, pictures etc... Will defenately get you over looked for any positions. I have friends on facebook that blast their own companies and make negative
comments about their jobs and it does surprise me they still work there. We live in a new era now and you got to be careful!!!

June 03 2012 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Heather Huhman

These are all excellent tips! Job seekers can also expand their network by reaching out to professionals in their industry and asking them to sit down for an informational interview. Jot down a few questions about their career, industry, or company, and follow up after the fact. Informational interviews are a great way to cement contacts in the professional realm.

June 01 2012 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Rigonan

This is great! Career Confidential can also help with that: http://bit.ly/JMuGPR

June 01 2012 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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