Uncovering the hidden job market

Knowing where the jobs are and applying for them before the competition does increases your chances of becoming employed.

How do you get the career you want? Pounding the pavement and searching for a job can be stressful and a lot of work! Preparing for the job search is as important as the job search itself. Taking the necessary steps before the job search can reduce the time spent pounding the pavement and increases the number of pathways to employment.

Knowing where the jobs are and applying for them before the competition does, increases your chances of becoming employed. Many employment opportunities are never advertised. Those unadvertised opportunities are known as the hidden job market. A hiring manager often fills a position with someone they know or someone who was referred by a trusted colleague. It is estimated that between 50-75 percent of available positions make up this hidden job market. The size of this hidden job market may depend on if the economy is on an upswing or a downturn. In David Schepp’s article, The Hidden Job Market Is Even Bigger Than You Think, “when the economy is thriving and employers are hiring like gangbusters, the hidden job market shrinks. Conversely, when times are bad and jobs are harder to come by, such as during the recent recession, it expands, with as much as 70 percent of jobs being filled using back-channel methods.”

Networking helps people discover these hidden job opportunities. According to Merriam-Webster, networking is the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: The cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. However, networking doesn’t have to happen strictly face-to-face. The internet has changed the way people find work and how employers find talent. More and more, people are using social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, Tumbler and others to look for work and fill positions. A student survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 95 percent of students surveyed had a profile on a social media outlet, 71 percent expect employers to look at their profiles, 26 percent use social media to research companies and network for their job search.

It’s essential to remain positive and enthusiastic during the job search. Be sure to stay connected and get the support you need from family, friends, and community groups you belong to. Don’t forget to step out of your comfort zone and make new connections on- and off-line, by networking and joining social groups, associations and clubs related to your area of interest.

Michigan State University Extension offers clubs, programs and many volunteer opportunities you can tap in to expand your network, gain skills, increase your knowledge and uncover your next career.

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