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Navigating Through The Hidden Job Market

June 6, 2013

Tenesa Ellis is a third year student at Cal State East Bay. She is majoring in Communications-Media Production, and is fascinated by all things technology.  After graduation, she hopes to start a career in the internet marketing field.

Tenesa EllisBy Tenesa Ellis

“Need a job? Invent it.”–Thomas Friedman. This message was passed on to me in my in one of my college classes.  For many college students who are trying to figure out what career path to take, or how to secure an entry-level position or internship, that advice may be daunting.  However, developing an entrepreneur mindset will help spur the process of researching and developing a plan to get a position that you want, or a position that you create for yourself in your desired field.

Okay, so now you may have developed an idea of what career path you want to take and have an ideal position that want.  But where to start?  A good place to start is your college’s career center.  There you can find a myriad of resources, like resume writing, and other pre-employment  services.   You are now off to a good start.

The freshly made resume is still clean and sparkling, but needs a home.  Here is where a common mistake is made: applying online, where resumes seem to disappear into a black hole. Here is where being able to understand and navigate the hidden job-market becomes invaluable.  The hidden job market can be thought of as jobs that are not publicly posted and are found through non-traditional ways.

Remember the advice about developing an entrepreneur mindset?   Well, here is a chance to put that advice into practice.  One of the most important things to remember with the hidden job market is having an idea of what your strengths are, and what you want to learn.  Once you have figured that out, it is time to develop a list of companies that are aligned with and compliment your skill set.  Also try to find mentors who can give you advice and insight into the field that you want to go into.

After this, it is now time for some cold calling. Cold calling with help you expand your all-important network.   Remember, many jobs are not posted or are hidden, or some plain don’t exist in the traditional sense.  Don’t be afraid to call up a company and offer to be an intern or inquire about an entry-level position.  Think back to the advice about being clear about what your skill-set is and let the person you are talking to  know about your skills.

Also, don’t forget to set up and account on LinkedIn, or create a interactive resume blog to highlight your talent and/or skill set or something that serves as a medium that showcases who you are as a professional and/or who you hope to become. Also, don’t forget to establish rapport with the connections that you have made.  Don’t be shy about calling a company back where you have made an inquiry about, say, in the Fall, but now it is Spring.   They may have openings, especially  in relation to internships.

By following these tried and true methods, you just may find that your formerly hidden job market now comes into plain view.

Some of this advice I have learned through college, through trial and error and most importantly through my current internship at What’s for Work?, which has helped me to understand the importance of being able to effectively navigate the hidden job market.  Also, web sites such as allow for  custom searches, which can act as a springboard for other positions that may not be advertised but found through research and networking.

The future of employment is pointing in the direction of entrepreneurship.   Be the entrepreneur!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dennis Thompson June 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Great advice Tenesa! The Find Hidden Jobs Forum at What's For Work? is a great place to find out how others are navigating the Hidden Market and finding jobs that are not advertised and in some cases not even created yet but are “invented” just for them! Good luck with your search!

Dennis Thompson
CMO, What's For Work?


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