I was near the close of a session with a client recently, where I was praising him for all the diligent work he had been putting in on his job search. From building his marketing plan, to reaching out to those in his network to let them know he was actively looking, to researching firms in his target market, he was following thoroughly the processes that are successful for experienced job seekers. My client while touched by the praise indicated that these are the type of things that all serious job seekers should be doing. I relayed to him that while I agreed with him, so often I find and unwillingness on the part of many job searchers I meet to look beyond the search firms or the internet and online postings for open positions. My client, who in his past had been a hiring manager, responded to me in a way that resonated with me immediately. He said, “Tony, when job openings occur, the first thing people do is check their network to see if they know someone, or their contacts know someone, who may fill the position. It’s only when their network knows of no one that a job becomes available to be posted. Once it’s posted, everyone knows about it”.

My client is so very right. I remember one of the early items that impressed me during my certification studies as a Five O’Clock Club career coach was how the Five O’Clock Club research showed that only 10 to 15 percent of the job seekers through their over 25 year history were able to trace their new jobs to search firms or ads. Another item I learned is that as many as 90% of the available jobs are not posted. While this is certainly discouraging news to those who have strictly relied on search firms and ads in their job search, they likely have been met with that discouragement already. Discouragement comes in the forms of resumés sent out and receiving no response. It comes in applying for positions for which they do not match the qualifications very well and being told they are not a match or are over qualified. What’s a job searcher who is in this type of situation to do?

While there is no one formula that works exactly each and every time, there are certainly steps that have been proven more successful than others. As my client has, take an inventory of your entire network of contacts. These may be former co-workers, people known through outside activities, possibly former customers and clients, etc. Reach out to them and be very open that you are in job search and be as specific as possible as to the type of position for which you are looking. Don’t ask your contacts for a job, but do ask them if they have any familiarity with the field in which you are looking or others in the field that you can contact to learn more about the types of candidates being sought in that profession.

Give strong consideration to building your network by joining professional associations in the discipline in which you are seeking your next position. Such an approach worked for a family member of mine. He was in the field of credit analysis and joined an association of financial professionals. An opening emerged for a credit analyst at a firm that two members of his association knew the management team. Both of these individuals recommended my relative as a candidate for the position as he was the only credit analyst in their financial networking group. After being called in for a few interviews he received the offer and the job. To this day he is grateful to those two association members and having taken the initiative to join the association.

However, even if you don’t know individuals who may know others in firms that you are targeting, nothing stops you from reaching out and making contact directly yourself. Perhaps you see the contact information for an area lead in an organization of interest to you. Or, if they have been published or quoted in industry trade journals, their contact information is given. Reach out and perhaps comment to them on your interest in the same field of which they are a part, or provide input on how you may have handled a similar issue in a previous position. The point is, that you are not looking to make contact as a job seeker, as much as a fellow colleague, looking to share information or learn additional information. Individuals are always more willing to share their expertise and share ideas as opposed to being put on the spot immediately by being asked for something, particularly something they may not have at the moment available to give, such as a job.

The key is don’t ever forget there is a highly “invisible job market”. It is a world not found on the internet job sites or in any recruiter’s office. It is a world that will take a good deal of perseverance in which to make inroads and some ingenuity on your part to enter. However, one’s ability to navigate it and use it as an additional source in their job search will increase one’s odds of not only finding a solution to their search, but likely open up possibilities far beyond what may be posted for all to see.

Author's Bio: 

Tony Calabrese of Absolute Transitions provides suggestions, approaches and information on how you can find a new job, move up to a new position, or change your career. To get his free report, "Overcoming Obstacles to Change Your Life" visit http://absolutetransitions.com