Posted on: June 21, 2018

Tapping into the Hidden Job Market

Tapping into the Hidden Job Market

In my previous blog, I discussed about the importance of supplementing the knowledge gain from college with universal basic skills to become effective and efficient in a professional life. In this blog, I will focus on how networking skills will benefit new graduates to maximize their chance of getting their dream jobs.

Career Development scholars apply the iceberg analogy to demonstrate the visibility of potential jobs in current labor market environment.  According to this theory, only 20% of the iceberg is visible to our eye whereas 80% is hidden beneath the water surface. Using this analogy, Carter & Izumo (2014), argued that only a very small portion of potential jobs are visible over advertising while most of them are hidden from the potential labor market.  Therefore, in order to exploit those hidden employment opportunities, job seekers need to develop and utilize their networking skills.

As outlined by the same authors, here are some major hidden job opportunities that deserve consideration:

  • Visiting prospective employers even if they have no open position now is one area to explore. Discussing about unique capacities, job seekers have, may initiate managers to realize some unmet needs they did not even recognize existing before. If managers decided to meet those needs by opening new positions, the first people they will contact will be the job seekers who initiated the new positions.
  • Networking will also help job seekers to discover potential jobs that are not yet announced but possible to be available in the near future. There may be positions that will be available since someone is relocating/ leaving shortly or new project and expansions is starting soon.
  • In many instances, employers are announcing job openings internally anticipating that their own employees may recommend the right people for those openings. Job seekers with very good networking skills may exploit these opportunities.

The most common way of seeking a job after graduating from college is by searching from official job postings. As discussed above, open jobs constitute the smaller portion of potential jobs available in the labor market. Besides, since open jobs are available in many online and print outlets, hundreds and thousands of applicants are competitive for those limited positions.  For new college graduates, it will be tougher to stand out from the crowd and get the job offer because they have very limited previous work experiences. Hence, developing networking skills to exploit the huge hidden job markets is a wise decision from new college graduates.

Source: Carter, C. & G. Izumo, (2014), Career Tool Kit: Skills for Success, Fourth ed. Pearson Education Inc. Boston, MA.

Post written by Dr. Zelalem Chala.