The Hidden Job Market
There is so much more to a job search then submitting resumes. It’s all about identifying key opportunities that many times are not posted to the public. Some experts cite figures that 70 to 80% of all open jobs are never advertised to the public. Donald Asher writes in his book How to Get Any Job that “if you look only for advertised jobs, you’re missing half the job market. Advertised jobs are like the tip of the iceberg, while the rest of the iceberg is invisible. You have to find the hidden job market to run a successful job or internship search.”
So how can you learn about positions if they’re not publicly advertised? Talk to people. Network.
This is why the expression that “it’s not what you know, but who you know” can ring true. Employers, if given a choice, would rather interview someone who is familiar or has been referred to them. Having a common connection can definitely be in your favor.
What is Networking?
Networking connects you to people who could lead to a job, internship, or volunteer experience. Networking is about relationship building.
Your network includes people you've met (either in person or online) and people you become acquainted with as you’re telling others about your search. Meeting people doesn't always mean attending formal events like career fairs, receptions, or networking events. You meet people informally every day on the bus, getting coffee, walking to class, etc. Strike up a conversation.
When there is the opportunity talk about yourself and what you are interested in, do it! You never know if who you are talking to will know someone who could give you a lead. You wouldn't be asking these individuals for a job; you would be contacting them to see if you can set up an informational interview. Informational interviews are a way for you to learn more about the profession, and serve as a starting point for your communication with a networking contact.
Networking through Social Media
You should also be aware of your opportunities to network with a wider audience through social media. Being an active Twitter or LinkedIn user can be a great way to gain access to professionals in your field. If you’re not already an active user, it’s never too late to start! Learn more about using Twitter and LinkedIn effectively. While you’re at it, make sure that your overall online presence is a positive representation of what you have to offer a potential employer.