Linda Lupatkin, Career Counselor, Coach and Consultant

Is there gold? Are there diamonds? In a tight market, jobs can seem as arduous to mine as precious metals and gems. But they’re definitely available and until you uncover them, they certainly are hidden.

What is the hidden job market? Let’s start by stating what it’s not. It’s not a list of unpublished jobs. In fact, no one has a list of hidden or unpublished jobs. Think about it, if there were such a list, it would then be published and available to everyone.

Hidden jobs, like gold and diamonds, take effort to unearth. Finding them requires out of box thinking and effort. Most job seekers focus on published jobs, the low hanging fruit. But very few people actually get hired by applying to posted openings. Why? Because that’s where most of your competition is. It’s very easy to fire off resumes to those job postings, but on the other end, the recipients are being inundated with applications and even if you’re a perfect fit, they may never even see your resume.

That’s why a successful job search requires you to seek out the hidden job market, using different strategies and techniques. Some of those strategies have been around for ages, things like networking and talking to people to find out about an industry or company in which you have an interest. The good news is networking tools have advanced with our social media society, enabling you to expand your networks exponentially by using resources like LinkedIn.

Not only can you use LinkedIn to expand your network, you can use it to gather intel about who is employed at a company, thus identifying a potential contact and entrance into the organization. In addition to networking, you can also follow the company on LinkedIn and Twitter and use events that are happening at the company as a hook, or reason, to contact them.

You can use this same technique by reacting to articles you read online, in your local newspaper or business journal. By reaching out to a company in this manner you can be ahead of the pack, contacting the organization before they’ve posted a position or even have a position created for you.

Targeting companies regardless of whether they have a posted opening is key in an effective job search. This is also essential if you prefer not to relocate.  If you want to stay in one area and you haven’t reached out to every company that is a potential fit for your background, then you are doing yourself a disservice.

There is definitely a hidden job market and with the proper coaching on effective tools and strategies, the prize position is far less elusive than unearthing gold and diamonds.