Four Steps to Capitalize on Unadvertised Jobs

Savvy job seekers know about the "hidden job market," which shows that approximately 80% of the jobs available in the U.S. are not posted. For many reasons (time, money, unknown need), employers who might be willing to hire someone have not advertised their position. If you want to capitalize on the hidden job market, I suggest you follow these steps to find a job. Tips on resumes, cover letters, and interview skills are also covered here.

Plan: Decide exactly what you want to do and what you have to offer

  • Determine what you want to specialize in, what population you desire to work with,
    and what responsibilities you would like to have in a job.
  • Evaluate your values, interests, skills and personality to help you match your needs with theirs.
    You can learn more about assessing these areas on the career resources page.

Search: Decide where you want to use your skills

  • Identify the type of agency you would like to pursue
  • Determine what kind of community/town/city would be best for you

Target: Identify organizations that interest you the most, whether or not they are known to have vacancies

  • Make a list of all of the places that you would like to work
  • Research the organizations to determine their mission and other things important to you
    (time demands, responsibilities, flexibile hours, etc...)

Action: Using your resources, begin making contacts with organizations to learn more about them

  • Network! Use the phone book to find key personnel or contact people you know to learn more about an organization. Use the professional associations to network at conferences or through email to inquire about job opportunities
  • Use online job postings to identify the posted positions (but beware of posting personal address information on public job search sites)
  • Use informational interviews to meet people, learn more about an organization, determine how your needs may match theirs, and find hidden jobs.
  • Try volunteering or starting in another position (e.g., intern) with the organization. Many firms promote from within the company.
  • Cities with a Counselor Education program may have their internships posted on a college departmental website for their students. This could give you ideas of agencies and key contact information to open up your options. The local United Way (211) will have a list of community resources as well.

To begin a successful job search, you will need to have your target job in mind. When you are ready to apply for the job, you will need to have an updated resume and cover letter, and brush up on your interviewing skills. Find more of those resources on the career resources page.

Please leave a reply below and let me know if this process was helpful for you.

  • How does understanding the hidden job market expand your opportuntiies?
  • What new information, people, and organizations do you want to explore?
  • What action steps can you take today to get started exploring the hidden job market?

I look forward to reading your comments and feedback.

Cheryl Pence Wolf is an author, speaker, trainer, consultant, and coach devoted to helping individuals find a meaningful career they love. She has more than 20 years of leadership, research, teaching, education, and experience. Learn more about Cheryl and how you can work with her at .


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