The “hidden job market” refers to jobs and internships that don’t get advertised through “normal”channels like company websites, or third‐party websites like Monster and CareerBuilder. Some say these positions may account for up to 60‐80% of the total job market! So, how do you get access to these“hidden” jobs? The most common way is through a combination of networking and direct outreach.
Getting to People Who Can Help You
You’ve certainly heard it said that “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While that’s not entirely true—no matter who you know, you ultimately will have to have the skills and abilities to do the job once you get in the door—connections and referrals are invaluable.
Several recent surveys of recruiters and hiring managers have confirmed that this is true. When asked to identify the source of their hiring they noted that 30% came from referrals and 22% from their own corporate websites. Only 8% came from third–‐party websites like Indeed. Other hiring methods—none of which rated higher than 9%–‐–‐combined for the rest. What does that tell us? A comprehensive job search should include every resource you have available including job websites, career fairs and staffing agencies but the bulk of your effort should focus on the areas most likely to yield results—generating referrals and direct outreach.
Generating referrals happens by talking with the people you already know—friends, co–‐workers, faculty, staff, family, friends of your family, family of your friends—basically, everyone you already know. Conversations with these people in your life will, hopefully, connect you with people they know—and you don’t—as a way of opening doors and initiating conversations. It doesn’t matter if the people you know are working in your target industry/company. It just matters that they know you reasonably well. You never know who they know (and in some cases, as we will see, even they don’t know who they know) until you ask!
Direct Outreach is exactly what it sounds like. It is trying to initiate contact with a company or person you don’t know. This can come in the form of simply applying to a job posted directly on a company website, or emailing a recruiter for a company that you met at a QU job fair. The best forms of direct outreach happen where there is also some shared bond—relationships to QU such as a recruiter who works with us, QU alumni, fellow fraternity member at another school—but they can work without those connections as well.
We will talk more about how to do both of these things later in this guide.