Why the hidden job market just might be one big misunderstanding.

hiringThis is a guest post by Lavie Margolin. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

True or false: 80% of openings are never advertised

How many corporations and government institutions do you know of that do not post their jobs publicly?

Consider any organization with more than 300 workers. Go to the website of a Fortune 500 company and find the job listings section. You will likely see pages and pages of job vacancies.

For most organizations, there is no reason to hide the job openings that they have available. It will only benefit them to let the world know that they are seeking candidates. A notable exception includes executive level positions that are of a sensitive nature and the company will use a headhunter instead of advertising a job. Additionally, organizations with smaller budgets cannot pay for advertising at all, but this is only a handful of employers.

So can it be true, as is often said, that 80% of jobs are never advertised and they remain hidden?

Where that number really comes from

The 80% number may come from a business interpretation of the word “advertise”.

When one advertises their services, they are paying for them. There are many ways to publicly announce a job without taking out a paid announcement on a job board or providing a listing in the classifieds. Possibilities to share your job opening without paying for it would include listings on Yahoo/Google/LinkedIn groups, job boards that do not require a fee, industry blogs, bulletin boards, social media as well as the official company website.

The 80% figure has taken on a life of its own as a fact for years and years. I have certainly heard it many times from job seekers in my eight years as a Career Coach in New York.  We hear it repeated so many times that it is often difficult to dispute.

The truth is that most jobs are advertised, but it is hard to stand out above the crowd in order to get consideration for the job.

According to a report conducted by Jobs2Web in 2010, the chances that you will be the one to get the job that you apply for on a major job board are less than half a percent!

Although the chance for finding success seems daunting, a job does not need to be ‘hidden’ in order for you to find positive results. Take a more dynamic path than everyone else in order to increase your success rate.

Some of those techniques would include:

  • tailoring your resume/cover letter to the needs of the employer for every job
  • finding job listings off of the major job boards (on company websites, LinkedIn, community message boards, etc.), and…
  • finding an advocate within the company to submit your resume.

Be dynamic, don’t believe everything you hear and stay determined in order to find the next great opportunity.

About the Author

Lavie Margolin is a Career Coach and the author of “Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers”. Lavie has presented at community events, workshops and conferences and has been quoted on job search related topics in media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNN.com and CBS MarketWatch. With readers in over 100 countries, his website www.lioncubjobsearch.com has been named a Top 50 career coaching resource.

This article is part of the Over $4000 in Prizes: The 5th Annual JobMob Guest Blogging Contest, which was made possible thanks in large part to our sponsors:

JOBlog Marcus Tandler’s JOBlog is Germany’s oldest blog about job search & careers.
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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Kay Riley

    Great article! I too was one of those who thought the “good” jobs were the hidden ones; available only to those “in the know”. After many years without the need to be out looking for a job, I decided to look for a job in a different industry. During my search, I learned how to use LinkedIn and Facebook to network, join groups, and learn about companies I was interested in.

    Niche job boards are a great way to find job openings in your particular field, and relatively easy to find using an internet search. There you may find some “hidden” jobs that don’t appear on the larger job boards, but as you say, companies are looking for ways to get their openings out there to those looking, while keeping their advertising costs down.

    I’ve also learned that it is essential to customize each and every cover letter and resume to the particular job you are applying to. I learned quickly that more is NOT better; it just ensures that the company will not have time to read it all and will miss the part where it shows you would be the best candidate for them

  2. Kevin meed

    Kay Riley, you have it right. It is pointless to respond to hundreds of job ads. Pick the companies and industries you want to work in and start contacting people there. Services like jobunlocker.com or data.com can help you find the right people to get in contact with. Then send your resumes and even go old school and make phone calls and start talking with people at those companies and in your industry. This is how our parents did it before there were job boards on the internet where we could easily respond to ads all day.(protip: the easier it is for you to apply for a job, the easier it is for everyone to apply for that job)

  3. Rich

    This topic makes the rounds. The last time it did, my team directly contacted the late Richard Bolles, the author of “What color is your parachute” about this question. He referred us to numerous studies beginning in 1944, and running through when we talked to him (in 2015), and they consistently said that at least 60% of jobs are not posted because that is not how companies prefer to hire for any but entry-level or high turnover jobs. The costs of posting a position, resulting in 200 – 500 responses outweigh any advantage, except in those two cases. The problem is the sheer number of unqualified SPAM applicants devastates any HR department, even with the ATS.
    Face it, a company with 10,000 employees has at least 500 openings, and guess what, if you check their website as is suggested, you won’t find 500 listings. Perhaps 100-150, and they will always be entry-level or high turnover roles.
    In any case, applying online is a very low percentage behavior, especially when compared to being referred to the Hiring Manager, by a former co-worker who now works with that Hiring Manager. (18 times better results.)

    I enjoy Job Mob,. Keep it up!

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