Finding hidden jobs is an easier task than spotting one of the 100 moose residing in Connecticut. Unlike venturing out to spot moose, when heading out to uncover hidden jobs, one wants to be highly visible. Similar to spotting moose, you need to know where to look. Your goal is to identify jobs and potential opportunities that the majority of job seekers won’t know about. You’ll need to get your head out of the bushes, those broad-based Internet job boards, and widen your view to begin identifying companies and/or organizations of interest. Companies and organizations know their hiring needs in advance of posting positions. They typically scout internally for candidates and then casually inquire about external candidates. This is why you want to be a known entity. So what do you need to do? Consider the following initial strategies:
- Gain knowledge, by looking at jobs postings, about the skills and competencies that are most desired by employers hiring for the types of jobs you seek;
- Be able to articulate the skills and knowledge that you can bring to an employer;
- Identify target companies and organizations where you feel you would be a great fit;
- Research your target companies and organizations, by viewing their websites, conducting Internet searches, and accessing LinkedIn. Be on the lookout to identify hiring managers, department heads, alumni from UConn (and even your undergraduate institution) who work at the company/organization;
- Let people in your network know of your interest in learning more about career paths and openings in specific companies and organizations. You are NOT asking these people for a job or to get you a job. Your goals are to cultivate your knowledge about the company and to learn about any new initiatives and growth areas, and to share your value without saying, “Hire me”;
- Write a letter of interest and craft a tailored résumé, identifying the value you can bring to the company/organization. You can send your outreach by email and/or postal mail to a key contact you have identified within the company/organization.
Dedicate time each week to scouting out the “hidden job market.” Many experts say this is where you should spend over 50% of your job search time. While I am still in pursuit of spotting one of the “hidden” moose in my area, I have been far more successful in learning about “hidden jobs,” uncovering half of my positions through research and networking.
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Photograph: By the Obber Family/Sunset Country Image Gallery/Ontario, Canada