Not all jobs are posted on Internet boards or advertised in the newspaper. A slew of good jobs aren’t ever broadcasted to the general public, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break into this hidden market. Be forewarned: finding an unlisted position is going to take creativity and perseverance and much more than traditional networking.
There are typically a few reasons companies won’t make jobs available to the public: the hiring manager doesn’t want to get bombarded with hundreds of resumes; they know they need to hire someone, but aren’t ready to articulate what the position will be; or they want to keep it ‘hush hush’ for competitive reasons. Either way, the employer knows it wants to hire someone and it’s your job to get them to hire you. “You have to view job seeking as a sales job even if you are applying for a secretary position,” says Gal Almog, Chief Executive of RealMatch, a recruitment technology company.
Conventional wisdom will say that the best way to get those unlisted jobs is to network, network, network, but if you are networking with the wrong people, it won’t get you anywhere. Instead of general networking, it’s much better to do your homework and target the hiring managers.
But even before you do that, Jack Chapman, a career coach and author of Negotiating Your Salary, How to Make $1000 a Minute, says you need to have clarity as to what kind of job you want to do. It’s not enough to say you want to be in sales, but you have to figure out the type of sales you like to do. Do you like to cold call consumers or are you better at building relationships with the middlemen? Once you figure out the type of position you want, it will be much easier to target the right person to get a job. “You need to be clear of what you want to do and who hires for that and you need to get in to see that person,” says Chapman.
Getting in front of the person that could ultimately hire you works particularly well in the situation where the person knows it needs to hire someone, but hasn’t really articulated the position in his or her mind. Once you are in front of that person, you can plant the seed so when they are looking for someone they will think of you. “It’s really about being in the pipeline instead of getting the position immediately,” says Chapman. “Every manager worth his salt has a pipeline of people they know they could hire.”
Building a relationship with the hiring manager in a company is the ultimate goal, but how you do it can be the challenge. RealMatch’s Almog says doing research on the Internet and using social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook are great ways to make a connection with the person that may ultimately hire you. Picking up the phone and calling the hiring manager or sending an email are also effective tactics, he says. Almog says to avoid the HR department because often times, HR will be an obstacle to getting in front of the hiring manager. “I suggest you be your own recruiter and initiate the call to the company,” says Almog, noting that once you make contact you have to sell yourself and say why you would be an asset to the company. For example if you are trying to land a software job, lay out how you can save the company money because your skill level makes you a much more productive employee. If you are going for a sales job, explain how you can double the sales of the company.
Another way to get to know the hiring manager is to befriend the people who work for that person, says Terry Pile, Principal Consultant of Career Advisors. Called “surrounding the hiring manager,” the idea is to become friendly with those that work for the person so they can put in a good word or recommend you when a position opens up. Working as a temp through an employment agency will also give you access to unlisted jobs, she says.
“If there is a company you want to work for, call the HR department and find out what employment agencies they use. Then sign up with the employment agency and let them know Company X is your first choice for an assignment,” says Pile.
After you’ve made contact with the hiring manager, Chapman says one way to get in the pipeline is to provide the hiring manager with valuable information pertaining to the role you are trying to land. Chapman had one client who was looking for a property management position and put together a report on eight things to keep a property looking good and gave it to property managers he forged relationships with. Another in the trucking industry put out a report on ways to add $100,000 to the bottom line. “It helps you get visibility,” says Chapman. “It shows your expertise and is interesting, unlike a resume.”