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April 21, 2017
The Hidden Job Market: Fact or Myth?
You’ve no doubt heard that the best jobs are not advertised and are gotten by accessing the hidden job market. You hear this from a lot of people in the career industry. Many resume writers, outplacement firms, career counselors coaches, and networking groups all tout claims that a large percentage of the best jobs are in the so-called hidden job market, and that is where you should concentrate your job search efforts.

How do you find this hidden market and gain access to its alleged “garden of Earthly delights and high-paying jobs”? Simple. Networking. Well, no one would argue that you shouldn’t contact people that you know to see if they might be of help in your job search. When you’re job hunting, you should certainly give yourself every advantage, and that includes asking people you know to let you know about any job openings that know of that might be of interest to you.

Should you join a networking group? If so, should it be one for people in your industry and/or job title, or a more general group such as your local Chamber of Commerce? The problem with joining a networking  group for, let’s say financial executives, is that a certain percentage of the membership may well be looking for the same kind of position as yourself. IOW, potential competitors for the same jobs you’re looking for. It might be more productive to participate in a more generalized group, such as the C.O.Commerce.

Suppose you learn about an open position from networking. Now what? Maybe you have a contact that says they’ll be glad to make sure your resume gets to the hiring authority. Sounds great, right? Just one problem. The policy at most companies is that HR screens all resumes, so even if your contact hand delivers your resume to the hiring authority and even if the hiring authority looks at it, it will get funneled to HR, per company policy, and HR will work their black magic and screen your resume to look for a reason why you should be eliminated from consideration.

If/when that happens, few hiring authorities will take the corporate political risk of overruling a decision made by HR.  

Wouldn’t it make more sense and be more productive to not put too many eggs in the hidden job market basket, and instead, concentrate on positions that you know are open because they’re advertised? And while you should definitely try to get your qualifications evaluated directly by the hiring authority, you should think twice about whether you should send a resume as your first effort to influence her or him to contact you for a possible interview.

There are certainly job openings that don’t get advertised — for one reason another. Maybe they intend to hire from within, or perhaps they are going to use a search firm.

Is the hidden job market a fact? Yes. Is it a panacea for job hunters? No.

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Tom Kellum is a job hunting consultant, helping people's dreams come true since 1987. He specializes in providing a personal job-landing service based on proven marketing strategies and methods. For more information, email him at careerkeysman@gmail.com.
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