Job Hunting Tips
by Tom Washington

There is a hidden job market.  Approximately 65% of all jobs never get advertised online or in newspapers, or posted with temporary employment firms, recruiters, employment agencies, executive recruiters, college placement offices, or the state and federal job sites. The key point is most jobs get filled before the organization needs to utilize these traditional sources of jobs. Knowing how to utilize the hidden job market is crucial to success in your job search.

So, how do people find out about these unposted and unadvertised positions? They learn about openings from friends and relatives. They ask people they know to keep their eyes and ears open. They let people know which organizations they are especially interested in and learn whether these people know anyone who works there. When given the name of a person, they talk to that person to learn more about the organization and obtain the name of the person who would have the authority to hire them. Then they find ways to meet or speak to that person and they sell themselves with the 5-20 minutes they are often given. For more, check out two of the best on the hidden job market, What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles  and The Complete Job Search Handbook by Howard Figler (  

Learn to share experiences and accomplishments in interviews.  For example, if an employer asks what your greatest strength is, state the strength and then back it up with an example.  Create a strong visual image as you tell the story.  In that way the interviewer will be thoroughly convinced that you indeed have the strength he or she seeks in the ideal candidate. The vivid imagery will help the person to better remember you.

Get focused.  Employers often complain about the lack of focus observed in most applicants. Many applicants leave the impression that they are willing to take anything, they just need a job.  The top applicants demonstrate that they are focused, yet open to consider other types of jobs at the same time.

Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job.  Some, out of false pride, don't want anyone to know, and often miss out on great leads.  People love to help others.  Let them help you.  Maybe you can return the favor next time. Getting leads from people you already know or those you’ve gotten to know since you started your job search, is one of the ways you make the hidden job market work for you.

Don't let yourself hit "desperation gulch."  Many job seekers, after experiencing some rejection, come to a total halt in their job seeking efforts and begin waiting for a miracle to save them out of their unemployment.  Get professional help if that's appropriate, but stay active.

Always send thank you notes to anyone who helps you during your job search.  It is the polite thing to do and will make people more willing to help you again in the future.   Send thank you notes to those who give you "informational" interviews as well as those who give you formal interviews.  A note, two days after the interview, could be just the thing that will tip the balance in your favor and get you the second interview, and ultimately the job offer.

When interviewing for a job you are genuinely excited about, tell the employer you're excited.  Employers like to hire people who really want the job.

Research a company online and at the library prior to going into the interview.  It shows that you care enough to do your homework.  Many applicants have been tripped up when asked, "What do you know about us?"  Don't let it happen to you.

Few people adequately prepare for interviews.  Don't be one of them.  Since most interview questions are well known, prepare for such questions as Tell me about yourself, What is your greatest weakness?, What is your greatest strength?, Why should we hire you?  A little preparation can make a big difference.

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