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Finding a job in the hidden job market

It's estimated that 25% of all jobs are in what is called the hidden job market, meaning they are never advertised or are created specifically for certain individuals.

Many large public institutions create jobs in the hidden job market. Companies may feel that finding someone internally is preferred because they can save the time and expense of a long drawn-out interview process and the person will already know the company and culture. Other times, the job will never be advertised but employees are encouraged to recommend people for the open position. This is when "it's not what you know but who you know" comes into play. This is where your networking efforts can pay off. By frequently checking in with people you know, you can let them know you are in the market and ask them to keep you in mind in any openings within their companies seem like a good fit. Even if the business selects their new employee internally, they will need to fill that person's vacancy.

Another plan of attack for accessing these hidden jobs is to volunteer or work part time in the temp pool of your target employer. You can get to know people across the company and showcase your best skills and eagerness to take on more. That could make you more likely to get a full time job and move up the ladder from there.

Within private companies the hidden job market can be accessed in the same way as in large public institutions. Private companies have to meet bottom line projections and have more flexibility in who and why they hire people. Within this sector networking and convincing the company that they need an employee just like you can get them to create a position tailored to your skills and expertise. This is particularly true if you have unique military skill set that would be useful to a defense contractor.

To do this effectively you have to be very good at establishing contacts and following up. If you are really serious about the position and you know that your military training will be a huge asset to the company, be persistent and friendly about getting a job there. Call the company and talk with your contacts there on a regular basis. If they choose to take a chance on you, make sure you meet and exceed their expectations.

The networking site LinkedIn has opened doors to hidden jobs for many people. Letting your contacts know that you are searching for a good opportunity gets them thinking about you, and you might be contacted about work directly by an HR department because of a friend's reference. Be sure to create a positive online profile and be active in online groups focused on your chosen field of work.

It seems frustrating and unfair that so many jobs remain out of reach in the hidden job market. However, you can access these jobs through persistence, patience and research.

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