Executive Coaching

The Hidden Job Market: An Executive Job-Search Must

You are missing out! There are whole sections of the job market you’re not aware of, and they’re huge. An estimated 60-80% of jobs are outside the traditional channels. But how can this be the case?

The answer is simple: The hidden job market.

In this guide, we’ll tell you -

  • What the hidden job market is
  • Where to find it.
  • How to take advantage of this innovative job hunting opportunity to further your career.

Let’s get to it.

What is the hidden job market?

The term refers to the jobs that aren’t found on or advertised through the usual channels. They’re found via word of mouth, recommendations, networking, and direct offers instead.

If you’re looking for a new direction, a new role, or dreaming of a career change, then you need to know about the hidden job market.

Because traditional job-hunting puts you in a passive and vulnerable position. The hidden job market, on the other hand, is a way to put yourself in the driving seat and to direct your career in the direction you deserve.

You don’t get taught the skills you need to access the hidden job market just anywhere, but when you work with one of our qualified and experienced career coaches, you will realise they are the most important life skills you will ever learn.

Why does the hidden job market exist?

Everyone knows the standard job application process. You browse jobs, shortlist a few, prepare your CV, fill in the application, and send it off. Then, fingers crossed, you get invited for one or a few interviews, and - fingers crossed even harder - you receive a job offer.

Everyone knows the pitfalls, too. You compete with tons of other candidates for every role. Most of the time, you have no idea whether they consider your application at all. You never hear back if you were unsuccessful.

The time, money, and logistical costs of advertising job opportunities add up real quick for companies, too, so it’s hardly surprising that many take steps to avoid it.

There are other reasons for the hidden job market, too: Some companies avoid publicising job opportunities to keep competitors - or the public - from knowing a change in personnel is taking place.

In short, the whole process can quickly become demoralising and dispiriting.

And that’s because this approach is passive and reactive. Your job search is reliant on other people.

To succeed, you need a proactive and holistic approach. You need to cultivate a successful mindset. You need to distinguish yourself and make yourself irresistible to the organisations who can help you achieve your dream role.

It might seem surprising - or even unfair - to learn that some job hunting takes place outside the ‘usual’ channels, but it’s just the way of the world. The right course of action is learning how to access the hidden job market and how to put yourself in the driving seat.

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Accessing the hidden job market

So if you’re ready to step beyond the recruiters, the frustrating job searches, and guesswork of whether they’ve looked at your application - let alone read it with the attention it deserves - then read on.

Here’s how to see success from the hidden job market.

Take ownership of your success

Change is possible.

Being ready to leverage the hidden job market relies on laying the right foundations.

Seeing success requires up-skilling and gaining the right internal and external tools. Our coaches have refined this skillset and toolkit by working with hundreds of clients looking to reform their careers, just like you. We’ve tried and tested this methodology, and it helps our clients to make the changes they never thought possible.

These foundations will future proof your career. They will ensure you aren’t left vulnerable if changes crop up in your career, or if you realise you’ve outgrown your current role.

Engage in strategic networking

Remember what we said: proactive beats passive.

The best way to hear about opportunities is to involve yourself in the right conversations, and authentic networking is the most robust foundation for long term career success.

There’s an important distinction: Attend events because you want to network, not because you need a job. Establishing yourself on the scene is a very different process to surreptitiously hunting for a job, and you’re less likely to charm people or make connections if it feels like you’re only there to get something in return.

You need to build consistency. Once you’re part of a network and people are aware of your skillset, your experience, your personal brand, and what you can bring to their organisation, job offers are far likely to be more forthcoming.

Forbes said it best: “Networking is about building genuine relationships, not asking for favours.”

Build authentic personal branding

This is about distinguishing yourself so your career can move to its highest level.

You need to be involved in the right digital conversations, so cultivating an effective and consistent online presence is vital.

You need to have a strong and coherent career narrative that tells people not just where you’ve come from, but where you want to go, and why. What do you want to achieve with your career, and how will the skills and experiences you’ve gained on the way empower you to do this?

Getting ahead in your career is about getting buy-in from the right people, and about demonstrating that your career narrative is aligned with their organisation and its goals.

Direct outreach

Sometimes you have to take the initiative and get in touch with a company you’d like to work with before they advertise any vacancies. If you’re only familiar with the usual job application channels, this can feel incredibly audacious, but hear us out. We are renowned for cutting edge-job search skills that we teach our clients.

Attaching a purpose to your communication will boost its effectiveness. Ideally, you need to articulate a purpose you can fulfil for their organisation - a need that you can meet.

With a refined personal brand, you stand in much better stead for direct outreach, and by working with a career coach, you maximise your chances of finding the right conversations.

If all goes well, you’ll be on the shortlist of your target organisations before a role even becomes available.

Brush up on your knowledge

When you find an organisation who align with your goals and vision, spend time getting to know them. Understand what they do, how they promote themselves, what stands them above their competitors, and how you could bring them benefit.

Look for gaps you could fill. Invest time and effort in establishing contact with the right person, and in getting prepared.

Don’t fire and forget

After a conversation - whether by phone or face to face - a thank you letter goes a long way. You keep the conversation going, and you can do so in a way that is confident and genuine rather than effusive.

A big part of accessing the hidden job market is establishing a presence, distinguishing yourself, and reaping the rewards of the time and energy you’ve invested.

You don’t have to stay exclusive

It’s acceptable to nurture more than one opportunity at once. Through networking, you’re likely to make many contacts. If you are credible and diligent, people will start to notice. It may well be the case that several discussions about once are ongoing concurrently.

Remember that you have every right to pursue multiple opportunities at one time. Try not to leave anybody in the lurch - for example, by abandoning the conversation without any explanation - but a proactive job search involves a willingness to explore multiple opportunities at once.

In conclusion

Organisations are increasingly incentivised to recruit outside the usual channels. If you limit your job hunting efforts to these passive and reactive channels, you are going to miss out.

An awareness of the hidden job market is the first step on the journey toward finding a new job within it. Success comes from laying the right foundations, cultivating a new-career mindset, crafting a personal brand that distinguishes you above other candidates, and articulating your career story in a way that makes you irresistible.

Our coaches have the experience of hundreds of successful career transitions behind them and will help you to achieve this success, too.