Monday, January 10, 2011

The Hidden Job Market, Part II

The Hidden Job Market
© 2010 by Robert J.F. Sampron, B.A., B.Sc.

Part two…

Last week we began to explore how to uncover the hidden job market through networking. Simple put...

To maximize the effects of word-of-mouth, you need to make contact with as many people as you can. This means expanding your social circles, joining professional associations, attending conventions and events, joining, and closing your social media sites.

To expand your social circles, you must become a joiner. By joining organizations, including trade, fraternal, and volunteer organizations, you make new friends, perform needed public outreach, and gain new insights into job opportunities. This means you must shed our introverted ways, as a snake sheds skin, and learn how to make small talk. (Check out the book, The Fine Art of Small Talk, by Debra Fine.)

By becoming members of professional associations in the area, you join formal groups of fellow professionals. They may have jobs, right now, in your profession. They may know about hidden job openings in their companies.

Search for these professional associations on search engine like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. Ask favorite professors about them. Then, get out there and join. Attend the monthly meetings. You will not only make new friends and acquaintances, you will also keep up on new issues surrounding your profession.

Look in local newspapers, like the Sentinel and Community Courier, for group event announcements. There are great volunteer and professional groups everywhere, including Rotary International, Odd fellows, and Toastmasters International. Go to a meeting. See if the group matches your personality. Join and participate. That should quickly increase your social circle.

It is also a good idea to attend events and conventions. Conventions occur weekly throughout the Denver metro area. They make use of our main convention center and area hotel ballrooms. So do other events. See if you can get in, walk around, and talk to the exhibitors and business people. These people want their business problems solved. You may be the solution to their problems.

Another way to attend an event or convention is to work for a staffing agency. Many staffing agencies throughout the area supply workers to conventions and events. While there, in addition to working and making a few dollars in the process, you can talk to attendees and pass around a job-search business card, which is like a miniature resume.

Joining is also a must. A relatively new social media web site, LinkedIn may help you build your social networks. In addition to posting a profile, containing a resume, you can link to all the people and organizations in the Word-of-Mouth list. By using the Events application, found under “More” in the LinkedIn menu, you can also learn about upcoming events of interest in the area. However, treat LinkedIn like a very formal business introduction. Though you can connect your LinkedIn profile to other social media, this is not Twitter, Facebook, or a blog. This is a marketing tool. Use it as such.

Another suggestion is close all social media sites. Then, start over using avatar names. Yes, you heard me. Close them and start over. Why? I know it is fun to chat with friends and post all sorts of stuff on Facebook. But, guess what? Potential employers are now checking our social media activity. They do so to get a sense of our “real” personalities. They want to see if we match the personality of their organization.

This is probably not fair because there is no way a social media presence can show the full complexity of our lives. Fair or not, though, this is a new trend in hiring. That is why I suggest you delete your accounts and start over.

Use an avatar name instead. Do not use your real name anywhere on the site. Then, when a prospective employer searches for your name, that employer will not find you… except, that is, for your LinkedIn accounts. That is exactly what we want them to see!

But don’t forget, if you join these groups, be prepared to learn to become genuinely interested in people. When you are interested in others, they become interested in you. And you could become influential in other peoples' lives. Your employed acquaintances naturally will help you look for job opportunities hidden deep within their organizations. Why? Because, they like you. It is that simple.

Click here to read part I of this series. See next week’s job blog for the third article in this series.

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