5 Strategies to Uncover the Hidden Job Market

There are more jobs out there than what you'll find through the various job websites or employment agencies. To access them, you need to find out what they are, where they are, and what you need to do in order to get one of these hidden jobs, if you want one.

There’s something you need to know.

There are more jobs out there than what you’ll find through the various job websites, or through employment agencies. Lots more. And because these jobs aren’t out there in plain view, people often refer to them as part of the hidden job market. But truth be told, no-one is actually hiding these jobs from you. You just need to be able to access them, and that means finding out what they are, where they are, and what you need to do in order to get one of these hidden jobs, if you want one.

Here at Palette Skills, we like to think we’re on your side. So that’s why we’ve come up with a list of tips and strategies you can use to access all of these amazing hidden jobs, if you want them. But before we do that, we need to ask ourselves an important question: why would a job be hiding in the first place?

The most important thing to remember about companies and jobs is that it costs companies lots of money to hire publicly. Think about it. People tasked with HR need to come up with a job description, and then take the time to make sure that job description goes out to all the different websites and job boards. Next, people spend valuable working time responding to queries, going through resumes, and making lists of suitable candidates.

Large organizations and institutions have the resources to do this, but smaller companies, particularly startups, don’t. In fact, the smaller a company is, the more likely it is that recruitment gets done by everybody all the time, often through informal channels. And what does that mean?

Most of all, it means that personal connection matters. And this brings us to our list of tips and strategies you can use to access the hidden job market. Ready? Here goes:

1. Always build your network

If it’s true that hidden jobs are positions that tend to be filled informally, then you need to build a large enough network to ensure that when someone somewhere needs somebody to do something, your name comes up. If that doesn’t sound easy, that’s because it isn’t. Great networking takes a lot of time, and practice. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be a chore, and if you already have great people skills, you may be a better networker than you think. So, hone up on your regular networking skills.

2. Change the way you network

Let’s assume that you’re already an experienced networker. The question is, are the networking strategies you’re using helping you get at those hidden jobs? Now more than ever, it’s important to be smart about exactly how you network. And, particularly after Covid, it’s important to remember that networking is about forming real, human relationships.

If you’ve only been putting energy into networking from time to time, consider making it a habit from now on. If your networking tends to end with a brief email exchange, remember that you also need to give people something that matters to them. Whether it’s finding out a person’s interests and sending them an article, or taking time to notice a previous colleague’s career milestone, remember that you have to give before you get.

3. Come at it like a freelancer

Freelancers don’t have the security of a permanent job. And even if they’re lucky to have a great client, this can change depending on the economy, the work, and of course, on the availability of other freelancers. Freelancers are always hungry for new connections, and to cement their visibility, successful freelancers spend time making sure they have a strong online presence.

So, even if you’re looking for a permanent position, you can benefit from thinking and acting like a freelancer does. Start with a website that tells people quickly and simply what you do, and why you’re good at it. Throw in some great testimonials from previous employers. And finally, make sure that it’s easy for people to contact you!

4. Be interested

The world of work and careers changes all the time, and quickly too. Signal that you are keeping up with things by virtually attending conferences in your field. Find out what major employers are doing, and learn about what challenges they are facing. If a company you like is putting out great material on social media, respond to them. And then, when you have a sense of what’s important for a potential employer, ask if you can meet someone in the organization for an informational interview.

Don’t overthink this too much. It could be a Zoom chat, or a real coffee offline. The point of an informational interview is that it is an informal and low stress way to find out what matters for a potential employer. It’s not a job interview. It’s a way to show that you have great listening skills, and that you are motivated to be a part of the industry.

5. Get upskilled

Finally, one of the best ways you can crack open the hidden job market is by taking advantage of upskilling programs like the ones offered by Palette Skills. Whether it’s a program that gets you ready for a career in B2B tech sales, like the wildly successful SalesCamp, or a rapid immersion in the field of digital agriculture with the Automation and Digital Agriculture Specialist Program, upskilling works because it goes well beyond simple accreditation and training programs. The secret to great upskilling programs like the ones offered by Palette Skills is that they are designed with input from employers—the same employers who are looking to fill their talent needs. Think of it this way: a great upskilling program is a whole new pipeline for companies to source talent, even when they haven’t advertised a position!

Ready to crack the hidden job market and upskill your career? Sign up with Palette Skills today!

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