By: Carolyn Thomas, Director, XU Office of Career Services
The term “hidden job market” implies that there are certain jobs that are waiting in some secret place to be discovered by some clever or lucky job seeker. In reality, many jobs might be considered “hidden” in that you can only learn about them through networking.
Organizations often promote from within or rely on referrals from current employees before postings actually occur. Smart job seekers never rely solely on the internet to find openings.
One tactic for acquiring information about job possibilities is to join a professional association. Association newsletters may contain job openings. Many organizations have student chapters that offer discounted memberships. Attending a professional conference is an excellent way to expand your network of contacts. Professional meetings usually have job boards where attendees can view job openings. However, there may be specific activities besides the usual lectures and/or mixers that might lead to discovering an unknown opportunity. Some meetings have volunteer or community service projects the day before the official activities begin. What an interesting way to network while doing something good for someone or some cause! One student actually landed an internship as a result of doing a service project alongside a company CEO during the organization’s pre-conference community project.
While every student appreciates earning some cash, volunteering is also a perfect way to let an organization witness your passion for a particular cause along with your work ethic. If in the future an opening arises for a paid position, you’d learn about it first, and you’d already have your foot in the company’s door. In closing, the “hidden” job market may not be so concealed after all. It just may take some creative thinking about how you can network more strategically to find potential job possibilities.