How Can I Tap the Hidden Job Market?

Written by Chris Davis, Western Region Workforce Specialist


Hint: it is hidden in the trees!

Networking – Using Our Connections

Roughly, seven out of ten people got their new job last year through networking. Oddly, many of these jobs weren’t posted. Defined as hidden, the only way to access these jobs is by connecting with people.

Any guesses about what a forest has to do with it? Trees build network connections as little saplings through an underground web of fungi. This connects them to other trees and plants nearby. These connections enable the purposeful sharing of resources that help the whole ecosystem flourish.

Networking is accessing the web of people that keep us connected to hidden job opportunities. It helps the hirer and the hired to flourish. Yet a lot of job seekers aren’t using their natural connections as well as they could.

Weaving Your Web

Sticking with this analogy, when you connect with people, you’re building a web. Just grab a few job threads and start weaving. Building your web can be as simple as chatting with a barista about the work you love, mentioning your best skill during your next doctor’s visit, posting what type of work you are looking for on Facebook, or sharing with your neighbor at a workshop.

Be Prepared

Networking happens in all kinds of situations, as long as you’re ready:

  • Always carry a couple of your favorite skills at the tip of your tongue.
  • Have in the front of your mind the type of work you are looking for.
  • Know broadly what kind of work energizes you the most.

Curiosity and Courtesy

When you share a couple of job threads with others, you’re building your network. Curiosity and courtesy help; if you meet someone doing the work you like, ask them about it. Networking is relationship building, so be sure to listen to what others are looking for too.

As you add your friends, relatives, alumni, and past co-workers into your web, you’re increasing your access to that hidden job market. Most people are natural matchmakers and would be proud to contribute to your flourishing ecosystem.