Tips for the "Hidden" Job Market: Work Smart & Win Big

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Couldn’t help having a photo taken of me with the statues in Blackhawks jerseys in front of the Peninsula Hotel.  Just standing with them made me feel like a winner!  The Blackhawks haven’t been to the Stanley Cup playoffs since 1992.  Sometimes it takes a little longer to get what we want to life.


Every day I hear from job seekers that the college they attended have not been helpful in aiding them find a job.  There is a growing concern whether the universities are doing enough to package their students for the most challenging job market in decades.


It’s not just the students who have recently graduated that are complaining, but also alumni that have long graduated from their university that are running out of options and are asking their former schools for help.  One thing for sure is that the Career Services and the Alumni department are short staffed and overworked.



Last Fall, the  Roosevelt University‘s Alumni group here in Chicago ( hosted an informative forum for their alumni called, “Navigating  Your Career”.  I was fortunate to be able to join the three person panel with the topic, “(10) Tips for Finding the Hidden Job Market”.  I’ll share with you the first three tips in today’s blog.


Tip #1 is to consider contacting companies that you have interviewed with in the recent past (no longer than six months) that you were a final candidate.  Sometimes, the candidate that was hired just wasn’t the right choice and the position is still open.


Stay in touch with the hiring managers you interviewed with. If they liked you enough to bring you in for a number of interviews, you were a good fit for the company and even if the position you originally applied for isn’t open, maybe something else is that matches your skill level.


Tip #2 is to make sure you reconnect with not only former bosses, but also co-workers and subordinates that know the quality of your work and the expertise you can provide. These are people that can get you into a company and may know what jobs are available that are not currently posted. Many companies have internal candidate referral programs and your former co-worker could benefit by referring in a possible hire.


Lastly, establish an Advisory Board.  Consider this your personal Board of Directors that you depend on for information, mentoring and support. These are successful people in your given industry that you respect and can depend on to give you an honest assessment of your skills for the industry you work in. These are not people you ask for a job.  But, they are a tremendous resource of contacts and potential leads for jobs.


There’s more to come in my next blog.  In the meantime, consider these tips and take out your rolodex, again.  List your contacts of former co-workers and possible mentors.  If you were very close to getting a job with a company, give the hiring manager a call and let them know you’re still available.


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