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Hidden Job Market Essentials: Part Two of Four - Finding Hidden Jobs by Going In Cold Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Workopolis.com Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit www.CareerActivist.com.

Mark Swartz
Monday, January 29, 2007


''Hidden Jobs'' are those that aren't advertised widely. Unlike the wide variety of positions you will find on workopolisCampus.com, other job boards and student newspapers, the idea here is to reach an employer before they even publicize a new position.

One way to do this is to use ''Cold Marketing'' techniques. In essence, you are going in cold to an employer because they don't know who you are yet. There's a couple of different approaches under this heading. You can use them in combination with ''Warm Marketing,'' which we'll cover in next week's column.

The most common route under Cold Marketing is mass mailing. This is when you gather the names of companies and organizations that are in a geographic area you'd consider working in. Say, close to home. Or in a certain area of a province. You don't know if they have job openings or not right now. Still, you send as many of them as you can your resume, either by post or e-mail. Usually you address the message generically, as in ''Dear Sir/Madame,'' or ''To Human Resources.'' It's a low percentage strategy -- whether you're mailing or phoning - but it does get your name out to a wide swath of employers.

A slightly more efficient route is targeted mailings. Again you're sending out your application to places where you don't know if they're hiring or not. Only now you take the time to customize each letter. Things that can boost your chances? Getting the correct name, title and spelling of the hiring manager. Researching the employer beforehand and including a bit of what you know about them in your cover letter. Then following up within five business days of sending your application with a polite phone call, asking if they've received it, and if you might come in to discuss opportunities.

Then there's the old standard: the resume drop off. This is actually not a bad way to go for clerical jobs such as administrative assistants, accounting clerks, waitstaff, retail help and the like. Since there are many more positions in this pay range than at higher levels, and since the turnover is therefore that much higher, an employer may just keep your resume on file because something may crop up sooner than later. Also while you're there dropping off your application, you can ask to see the manager and introduce yourself in person.

Another popular step is to work with personnel agencies.

Here's a few more avenues. Uploading your resume to a job bank such as workopolisCampus.com, the goal being to be on the radar screen when employers come searching for qualified candidates. Or using a resume blaster to get your application in front of hundreds of recruiters at a time. Even putting up your own website to advertise your resume (though if you do so I'd strongly advise you to protect your privacy by only including your name, city and an e-mail address as contact info. No need to give out your phone number and street address to strangers).

Making your way through the hidden job market takes time and effort. By using some of the methods described above you pretty much cover the Cold Marketing road. Mesh it with Warm Marketing -- and include a healthy dose of job hunting online with workopolisCampus.com plus related sites -- and you have a winning game plan!

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