How to prospect the hidden job market

Okay, let’s get this blog post going with a simple multiple-choice question.

When picking up a newspaper, you search for jobs in:

A) The Classifieds Section (Want-ads)
B) The Business Section
C) The Front Page
D) The Entire Paper

The correct answer is… E, all of the above.
Okay, so maybe I did not list an “E” as a selection, but that was because I wanted you to think about it. The first answer was probably the most obvious answer to most of us, but was it the only answer? Was there another way of judging the question? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, would anyone even care? Probably not, but I digress…

Everyone goes to the classifieds when looking for a job.
It is a necessary step (didn’t I already say that in chapter one?), but only the beginning. Keep in mind that these are the jobs EVERYONE else is looking at as well. I suggest that you put your major focus on every other section of the paper that reports real news (failed celebrity marriages obviously would not apply), and in particular business news; primarily because that is where the real jobs are!

Let me give you an example of what I mean.
I pick up a paper and I flip through the business section of The Atlanta Journal & Constitution. I notice an article about some company in Alpharetta that just closed a deal on a new facility, where construction will begin in one month. One person may look at that and say, yeah, whatever… but I would look at that in several ways;

“New facility” implies:

  • some construction workers will be needed
  • electricians
  • eventually some LAN/WAN networking will need to be done
  • interior design so the office would look nice
  • expensive pictures on the wall to impress perspective clients
  • lots of computers will be needed for the workers to do their work on
  • phones would be needed
  • who is going to manage those people?
  • who will manage the managers of those people?
  • and of course the obvious for me, a new facility means new workers will be needed, so I better hit them up early before the other recruiters catch wind of this as well!

So, from that one article, there are at least 10 jobs
that have not been announced or even written up yet.

So by acting early, I could call and find out who is in charge of that facility, who is in charge of hiring for that facility and proactively send my resume in. This way, I could be the first-in-line for a position, before a job description is even conceived or written. And why would a company even write a job description if your resume is already there and you are a perfect fit for their need?

Here’s another example:
I read an article about a charity function where the purpose is to promote technology to high school students. (For those who feel charity begins and stays in the home, a big “I gave at the office” expression may appear on your face). But you could be missing out on an opportunity. Reading deeper into the article, it is discovered that Earthlink is one of the major sponsors and so is Coca-Cola. Hmm… those are some big companies that hire in big numbers, when they do hire.  Hmm… might be worth a visit to their kick-off party. It might also be worth it to volunteer a few hours here and there as it may get you closer to an executive with pull within the corporation, or at the least another name that you can call on. What’s the worse that could happen in volunteering for a charity? You help somebody in need, besides yourself. (Ahhhh… I just want to hug myself for that one.)

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