Newspapers across the country brought the bad news in early June: The U.S. economy didn’t add nearly enough new jobs in May. Not only that, the national unemployment rose, the first time it’s done that in 11 months. If you didn’t need job search advice before these dismal numbers, you certainly need it now.
That’s because finding a job today remains a daunting challenge. Those companies that are hiring face a mountain of resumes every time they advertise a job opening. The best jobs never even make it to online job boards or the newspaper classified section. It’s enough to make a job search especially intimidating.
Disappointing Hiring Numbers
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. employers created just 69,000 jobs in May, the lowest this number has been in a year. At the same time, the national unemployment rate crept to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent one month earlier. The bad news has spurred real fear that the national economy is again heading for a slump.
This is news that job seekers don’t want to hear. Mounting a successful career search today is no easy task. People need help finding a job. They need sound job search advice.
Cracking the Hidden Jobs Market
There is, though, one strategy that will give job seekers a boost: They need to chase those open positions in the hidden job market.
What is this market? It holds those jobs that are never advertised on Monster.com or Craigslist, those positions that never make it to the newspaper “Help Wanted” sections. Positions in the hidden jobs market are filled when high-ranking business executives or managers either tap someone they know or someone who has been recommended to them by a trusted source. These, in other words, are the most lucrative and interesting jobs available in today’s market.
These are also the jobs that you want to land, but how do you find these positions if they’re hidden? You must network.
That doesn’t sound appealing to many. But networking remains the best way to find work, especially when the national economy is as shaky as it is today.
The Power of Networking
This means that you must connect regularly with your network of business associates. Schedule a lunch meeting with former co-workers. Make a phone call to your last two bosses. Drop in on a favored college professor and business mentor. Attend your local chamber of commerce’s next business-after-hours event and make small talk with your community’s business professionals.
These conversations can turn into hot job leads. Maybe your former co-worker knows of someone who is retiring, leaving open a position that is perfect for your skills. You can then quickly contact the hiring manager at her company, expressing your interest in the position. Maybe one of your past bosses has a friend who is starting his own business. This friend might need someone with your talents. Your former college professor might have lunch regularly with an adjunct professor who also runs the human-resources department at a major employer. This professor might also be happy to introduce you to this key business contact.
In other words, by networking you gain an edge in today’s increasingly challenging hiring environment. Networking may seem daunting; it may seem like the last thing you want to do, but it is also your best option when looking for a new job.
If you want more job search advice, sign up for our Get Hired Bootcamp. Our experts can give you the strategies you need to succeed in even the most challenging economic times.