The Hidden Job Market - Where to Go

85% of all jobs are never advertised! 85%, according to the Department of Labor. The help wanted ads only cover 10% of all jobs currently available. This means that many great jobs require more effort to find them. Effective job hunting demands a proactive approach where you track down potential openings and actively follow up on all leads. Too often job hunters simply don't know where else to look after they finish with Sunday's paper.

Here are some good avenues to pursue.

Go to the library. Conduct some market research to analyze where the best opportunities lie for you. To begin, make a list of at least 20 organizations to investigate for possible openings. Note the company name, address, and phone number; you'll eventually need to find a contact person. Your goal is to reach the hiring manager - your potential boss - not the Human Resources department. Ask the reference librarian to help you locate the appropriate resources. Look at newspapers, business journals, annual reports, trade magazines, association listings, yellow pages and business directories. A couple good ones to check out are: Hoover's Handbook of American Business, The Thomas Registers, Million Dollar Directory, as well as Standard and Poor's Registry of Corporations, Directors and Executives.

Use the Internet. The information highway has thousands and thousands of job openings. The big trick is not spending all your time just trying to find them. The best places to look for leads are on a company's web page. Also, look for specific niche sites, often called vertical sites. These Web sites advertise for a specific job type or group. For example, America4Hire is a niche site for accounting and finance people. There are many association sponsored career web sites out there that carry extensive lists of their specific job openings (i.e. Payroll Association, State Bar Association, etc.) It's wise to post your resume on niche and company Web sites. When emailing a resume, it's safer to put it inside the e-mail to insure it doesn't become garbled during transmission. Additionally, the Internet is a terrific resource for identifying and reaching companies. It gives you access to a great deal of comparative salary information, so use it to help you better determine what you should expect to be paid.

Network! Two-thirds of all jobs are found by obtaining a lead through contacts. Ask family, friends and colleagues for assistance in tracking down potential opportunities. Ask if they know anyone who works at companies that interest you. Be open to adding new companies that they may bring to your attention. This can lead you to meet potential bosses at companies you really want to work for. Networking is also an important tool to get insider information and a more accurate look at a company's true work environment. It's also the best way to discover the true hiring manager's name so that you can contact them directly.

Mail out self-marketing letters. Once you've identified the companies you have an interest in, mail a targeted letter to the manager that would most likely hire for that job. Write a short paragraph that concisely outlines your strongest skills and accomplishments. Then tell them you'll be calling in a few days to learn more about their current needs. Attach your resume, and be sure you make that call to inquire about their openings. If nothing is available ask if they may have heard about something appropriate for you. These letters can open doors when they go to potential bosses, bypassing the Human Resource department (who's true job is to screen people out anyway). Don't get discouraged if it seems like a lot of work with no quick results. This process takes time, but it does uncover excellent job openings, with less competition, and one of those jobs could be exactly the job you're dreaming of. Go for it!

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