In the current job market, it’s not unusual for people to be looking for jobs over many months. It’s a very competitive market, and job openings are few. This situation is amplified by the herd mentality whereby people deploy the job search strategies commonly used in the past. For example, asking people about their target companies elicits, in most cases, the names of large and very well-known companies. This means that all of those people are competing for the same few openings. Yet there are lots of jobs in the untapped arena called the hidden job market.
The hidden job market is at the other end of the spectrum—mostly hidden from the public because the jobs in it don’t get published. Such jobs get filled by word of mouth or through recommendations. Most jobs are not advertised anyway, and people who get hired never responded to advertisements. Research has shown that 25 percent of people lie on their résumés. Hiring managers have a basic mistrust about résumés, preferring candidates who are recommended.
Some news articles profess that only one-third of job openings are advertised. That means that two-thirds of job openings are invisible to most job applicants. Here are some more facts:
- Big companies are eliminating jobs as a result of their mergers-and-acquisitions activities, while small and medium-size companies are creating jobs.
- Small companies have problems attracting talent and are thus often settling for less-than-perfect candidates.
- The job market is localized. Plumbers in New Orleans could be doing well, while those in other cities could be doing poorly.
- At the same time that companies are laying off people, they could be hiring in areas where other employees are needed.
- Ten percent of the current job market is contingent (part-time, temporary, or contract).
- Two-thirds of all new jobs are on a contingent basis. The chances of a contingent job’s becoming permanent are very good because the employees in them are known quantities.
So, what should job seekers do to increase their chances of getting employed? Here are a few suggestions.
- It takes a minimum of 40 job-search work hours a week to get a job. Research has shown that many unemployed people spend less than 10 hours a week.
- One has to make several contacts in the same company to get hired. It is a multistep and protracted effort. Nothing happens fast when one is looking for a job.
- People get jobs by talking to people. Improve your verbal and written communication skills.
- You should be working on at least 50 leads at all times. Don’t be discouraged by the voices in your head saying you cannot do it.
By following these suggestions, people in transition will not only speed up the process but also increase their chances exponentially.