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The Hidden Job Market - Looking for Work in All the Wrong Places?

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Jobs and Careers
Another morning of job hunting lies ahead of you. You pour a cup of coffee and open the paper to the employment section. With a mixture of anticipation and desperation you pick up a stub of pencil and prepare to target and identify some possible job opportunities.

There are less ads to circle this morning and despite the promising words and vague descriptions you have begun to believe that none of these potential employers will seriously consider you. Perhaps they have family or friends or maybe you'll hear once again "I'm afraid you're overqualified for this position".

After making a few phone calls you try to get into a positive frame of mind. You head out the door, a folder of resumes in one hand and a list of addresses at the next. You will drop off a few resumes and have plans for an interview this afternoon.

Maybe today will be different...

Are you or a friend looking for work? Have you heard of acquaintances laid off from long-term employment only to find four or five months later that they are still unable to find a job?

If you think the only way to find a job is to have connections, you may be partly right. With such a demand for employment many jobs never make it to the paper. How can you compete?


"Leave no stone unturned". Tell friends, family and acquaintances of your job search. These people can give you an 'IN' to their businesses when positions come available.

They may also hear of someone who is hiring and keep you updated on opportunities you may not otherwise have heard about. Their personal referral can also make an impression on the employer in your behalf.


You don't have to wait for a job to be listed in the paper, or even posted on the company board, to apply for work at a company.

Go through the phone book and make a list of companies you'd like to work for. Call and ask if there are any positions available. Ask for the name of the human resources manager or the individual in charge of hiring for the area you are applying to.

Send a resume and direct it to the person in charge of hiring. Write a cover letter that expresses your interest in the company and why you'd like to work for them. Follow up several days later and ask for the individual. Tell them you're checking to see that they received your resume and ask if there are any positions that may become available.

If they are not hiring suggest you'll check back at another time. Often positions are made available unexpectedly and by keeping in contact (without pestering) you may be the first person that comes to mind.

This is not a secret. If you're not taking advantage, someone else will. You can't afford to miss out on making yourself known to employers BEFORE the job posting is made public.

Accessing this hidden job market may open up opportunities you never thought possible. By staying one step ahead of other job searchers you can be sure that your new job is just around the corner!