This is the Legend of the Hidden Job Opportunity. Like the 90s Nickelodeon show Legends of the Hidden Temple, we are tasked as job and internship seekers to find our way through corridors, traps, and obstacles to find that perfect match. You may have heard the advice that you can tap into a job opportunity that hasn't event been shared yet on an organization's website by knowing the right people. But how do you know the right people? Follow me as we traverse the Hidden Temple and find those opportunities to land your next role.
Networking is Work
The first obstacle to finding opportunities is sometimes the hardest part for people...networking. Yes, advice on networking is coming. Reaching out to a total stranger on LinkedIn or walking up to a person at a mixer can be hard, but it's something that gets easier with practice.
Networking is one of the most important aspects of finding a job. It can help you build relationships with contacts that can provide you with valuable information and upcoming roles that are in the organization. Start by networking with family, friends, coworkers, and other contacts to ask if they know of any job openings or if they could put you in touch with someone who might.
Attend networking events. Look for networking events in your area and attend them to meet new people and get your name out there. Utilize social media. Meet Up and Eventbrite are great tools to utilize in finding events specifically geared towards industry networking or to build community where networking can take place. Join job-related groups on LinkedIn or other social media platforms and engage in conversations with people in the same field. Follow up with contacts. When you meet people at networking events or even online, make sure to follow up with them. Send them an email or message to check in and stay top of mind.
Before you start networking be sure to have your 30 second elevator pitch/commercial prepared. For example:
Hi, my name is [Name] and I use [pronouns]. I'm a [Occupation]. I'm passionate about [topic] and specialize in [specialty]. I have [accomplishment] and [accomplishment], and I'm confident I can help you achieve [goal]. Thank you for your time!
Just remember build an authentic relationship when networking and don't over rehearse your pitch. You don't want to come off over rehearsed or robotic.
24% of those looking for work find out about job openings through their professional connections. (Jobvite, 2021)
Ensure Your Career Brand is Updated
Update your resume and online profiles. An online presence is important, 57% of employers are less likely to interview a candidate who does not have an online presence. (CareerBuilder) Make sure your resume and online profiles are up-to-date and highlight your skills and qualifications. This will help you stand out to potential employers. Ensuring the update of your online presence will set you up to be more easily found by recruiters and to offer another space for folks to connect and engage with you. Most importantly be sure to engage on the platforms you choose. LinkedIn is a great space to start for most professions, but Instagram can be great for marketing and art for example. On LinkedIn, research has shown that a large number of connections doesn't mean you have a greater potential to find a hidden job opportunity, but what does give you a greater potential is posting and interacting frequently. So set aside 10-15 minutes each day to share a news article related to your field, a piece of your work, or comment on a relevant post from a connection.
[W]hile a high number of contacts may represent the potential to reap benefits, it is usage frequency that drives benefit attainment on LinkedIn. (Davis, et al., 2020)
Join a Job Search Group
LinkedIn, FishBowl, and the professional SLACKs of organizations like URX and Out in Tech are great places to build out your online network for that hidden job opportunity. Join groups based on your location, profession, and identity. Be sure to engage consistently in your online community!
Check with Your Alma Mater
Your Alma Mater can offer a few ways to find jobs that may not be shared openly. As an alum, you may still have access to your campus Career Center and with that access you can gain entry to special recruitment events, gain insight from career coaching, and more.
Many times companies recruit from specific colleges/universities. With this focus, you can easily meet recruiters who have insider knowledge on roles currently open and ones opening soon. Career coaches can also have insight into upcoming hiring trends of employers. Your Career Center should also have a job board where your school was chosen by employers to post their roles. Utilize these services to find those roles that are not publicized widely.
LinkedIn also has a very strong tool to find those alumni connections in your ideal industries, professions, and companies.
Accessing the Alumni Feature on LinkedIn
Login to your LinkedIn Account
In the Search bar, begin searching for your college or university
Go to the college or university LinkedIn page
Once on the college or university page, click the Alumni tab (highlighted below)
Now you can see all the Alumni from your college or university who are on LinkedIn. Next, you'll want to search for alumni by keyword, job title, company, or skillset. (See highlighted below)
If you search Marketing, then that will pull up any Alumni profiles with the word marketing listed in their profile. You can search these results by Where They Work, Where They Live, What They Studied, and more! Click the Next icon to see more ways to filter your results.
I would recommend starting with where they work. Once you find alumni you'd like to connect with, send them a personal message. For example, "I'm a marketing professional and ODU Alumni! I wanted to connect with a fellow Monarch on what it is like working at XYZ Company. Looking forward to connecting."
There you have it. Some tips and tricks to guide you through the hidden job search that can feel very much like traversing Olmec's Temple. Watch out for those pesky temple guards!
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