As you progress in your career, you begin to discover that finding a new job takes more effort and more time. This is not surprising since there are fewer job openings available as you move up the ladder. Another challenge when looking for executive-level roles is that many open positions are not posted on company websites or job boards. This is called the hidden job market.
According to an NPR article from 2011, “At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published.” This happens for a variety of reasons:
- The job opening may not be public knowledge
- There could be a person currently in the role
- The company may not be able to afford an executive search partner
- The role could be part of a strategic initiative that is private
- A specific skill set may be necessary, and putting it online will require too much work from HR to sift through hundreds of resumes
Keep an Active Network
Many people only reach out to their network when they are looking for work. It’s important to stay connected to your network throughout the year. Catch up over coffee, send a note when you see something that would interest them, and reach out just to say hi. Staying connected and being helpful may keep you top of mind when they hear about an opening that may not be posted.
Make Sure Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile are up to Date
You never know when someone may reach out with a great opportunity. It’s important to periodically review your LinkedIn profile and update it with your experience and activities. It’s also a good idea to be active on the site and connect with colleagues you meet. LinkedIn makes it so much easier to stay current with your network. The same rule applies to your resume. Keep it up to date with your latest accomplishments, and consider consulting with a resume writer to be sure it stays updated with current trends.
Create a Target List of Companies
This is a step that a lot of people don’t think about. As you progress in your career, you get a better understanding of the type of companies you’d like to work for and the cultures that you resonate with. Consider creating a short list of companies you’d like to learn more about. Then see where you are connected to those companies and reach out to learn more. Showing interest thoughtfully and authentically can help you genuinely connect with the team there and be on their shortlist when a position opens up.
Consider Upskilling or Reskilling
Technology is eliminating jobs and creating new jobs faster than universities and companies can keep up. One way to stay in front of these changes is by learning new skills. Many companies work with third parties to offer classes and bootcamps to employees. If you have the opportunity, take advantage of these offerings to learn something new that interests you. You’ll meet new contacts with the same interests and open yourself up to new roles that you wouldn’t have been considered for previously.
The hidden job market is one of the best ways to advance your career, but without the know-how and hard work to improve your visibility to others, you may not be on anyone’s radar when they hear about a role or are hiring for a role that isn’t publicly posted.
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