The Hidden Job Market

November 14, 2009 7:17:49 AM PST
Terri Lee Ryan is a career coach and experienced headhunter with 12-years experience in recruiting, outplacement and coaching. Her firm, Human Capital Solutions, Inc., is based in downtown Chicago and currently provides career coaching and job transition services. She shares her tips on finding a job in the hidden job market.Consider contacting companies you've interviewed with in the past. Think about some of the jobs you've interviewed for where you were in close contention for a position at a firm, where they liked you enough to have a series of interviews, but in the end there was someone better qualified for the position, so they hired them. You need to go back to these companies and see if they have any current openings. This time you may be the right person for the job. Interviewing is never a waste of time. Value those contacts you've met in the process. Try not to feel angry or rejected if you didn't get the job. Often the candidate a company selects doesn't work out. To save time in starting a search all over, they are more than happy to re-consider you. It happens all the time.

Reconnect with former bosses, co-workers and subordinates. These are the individuals who already know the value you bring to a company, making them more comfortable in recommending you to others. They are a tremendous resource for potential job leads and company introductions. If you are still employed make sure that the individuals you contact are people you can trust in a confidential job search. The last thing you want is for your current employer to find out you're looking to leave the company. Be very selective where you post your resume on career sites. Most companies use these sites to recruit talent. They could very well see your resume.

Renew contacts with people in organizations you were once active in. This may include fraternities, sororities, professional business groups, charity groups, neighborhood associations, health clubs, tennis clubs, and golf clubs. You have already established relationships with people in these organizations. They know who you are and something about you since you have worked and/or have played side by side with the people from these places. They may be comfortable in referring you into a company or a friend of theirs who may be able to help you.

Establish your own Advisory Board. Work on developing a short list of individuals within your industry with whom you respect and can contact. Use them as a resource to help guide you through your career. They are your "coaches" to help keep you on track. They may also lead you to a potential position if they think you are a good fit.

Develop an on-going relationship with a few executive recruiters. They are essential to keeping your options open in the job market. Help them with candidate referrals and they will help you when you need to begin a job search. Nurture these relationships. It's never too late to befriend a "headhunter". They usually focus on an industry. They have spoken to more people than you can imagine in their quest to fill a position making them an excellent source for information and contacts.

Contact Not-For-Profit Companies. If you are currently in the private sector you may want to consider a position in a not-for-profit. Chicago has lots of them. They often seek talent outside of their industry who can help them in their management, sales and marketing needs. Try npo.net They value corporate talent, especially candidates who have worked at large consulting firms. They are also a wonderful way to use your talents in an organization for which you have a passion.

Volunteer your services. Consider volunteering your services at companies where think you may want to be employed. Let them get to know you. They will assess your skills to determine whether you are a fit for the organization. The person you report to will become vested in your success within this company. Make sure you volunteer in the area of business you want to work within that organization. Volunteer as many hours as you are able. They will appreciate your help. Act the same way you would as if you were being paid. Whether you know it or not they are evaluating you as a future employee.

Check out international companies. Research what companies are opening offices in your city. These firms will need local talent as they build their team in your town. Recruiting locally saves them money since they don't have to pay for relocation and moving expenses for candidates outside of your city. By going directly to the company as a candidate they will potentially save money on fees they would have had to pay a recruiter. International firms also need employees who know the town, have local contacts, knowledge of the marketplace and who understand the local culture.

Become a leader in a business organization in your sector. Throughout your career you need to stay connected to your industry through business organizations that support your sector. You need not only join them, but you must get involved in the organization. Start by joining committees to get to know people within the organization. Become a committee leader and then get on the Board of Directors. By doing this, you are not only meeting many people in your industry, but you are creating a brand for yourself by committing to your industry. When you need to make a job change, you'll have a group of people to go to in your industry to help you with your job search. They all ready know your work ethic and style after they've seen your commitment to the organization. This is step is vital for surviving your career.

Consider the Government Sector. This may be the Peace Corps, the FBI, the security division or local government. Traditionally, the government sector has paid less for their employees, but they have always paid good benefits and pensions. The pay scale within the government sector is increasing as are the number of jobs since the stimulus package was passed. Most of that money hasn't even hit the market yet, but it will. There will be amble jobs available in the government for awhile until our economy gets stronger.

You can contact Terri Lee Ryan at her website terrileeryan.com


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