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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

How Executives Can Approach the Hidden Job Market

29 Nov 2010 6:10 PM | Anonymous

By John O'Connor

One of my executive clients said this: "I am looking for a new position but there is no way I want my company knowing that I am looking." It's a refrain we hear a lot. Looking for a new position can be dicey and jeopardize your current employment. The majority of people looking to make a move don't want to tip off their employer that they are looking. So what do you do if you are looking now and you are running a confidential search? Here are three ideas to consider. A good way to run a confidential search is to start tapping into the job market and job search marketing techniques quietly, confidentially and with a little less exposure. So what might you consider doing now to start this process with a little less anxiety?

1. Develop a Quiet Linked In and Online Communications Strategy. Depending upon your industry, you should not necessarily start showing high activity on LinkedIn and in your professional networks. Develop a clear cut plan to become more active by slowing adding contacts, joining groups and networking through associations. Integrate these habits into your weekly routine and try to tie it into your current position. But often clients need a networking plan and search strategy that's more stealthy, carefully planned and, to some extent, quiet. Any "loud" moves or aggressive networking can tip off your network that something has changed. They may assume you are looking.

2. Imagine the Job You Want with The Company You Want. If you would take a time to write a brief job advertisement or job description at one of your ideal target companies, you have a strong start. Start to create a "fantasy" list of target companies. Why will this fantasy work possibly help you? Jobs open up like chapters of a book. In the first chapter, almost all employers look for top talent and have their eyes open for top talent. Next, employers often begin to formulate an idea of what they need to drive revenue or reduce costs. Usually that means the employer, internally, notices a need to look for talent. The employer will often try to fill the position internally. Lastly, the key hiring managers and the employer will think about externally advertising for this position. As you quietly network your "ideal" job description can become a map to guide you through your quietly effective networking.

3. Carefully Research and Prepare. Start reading industry association news, create a research portfolio and develop a sense of what kind of talent your target companies want. Begin to orient your potential resume, achievement portfolio, writing samples, and reference/reference material toward your target companies. Why should you do this before a position is clearly defined? A job seeker should use his imagination to power his search. Look at the culture, attitude and "feel" that the new target companies seem to have. Find out the buzz from employees, former employees, industry writers and more. What is it really like to work for these companies or organizations? Does this fit with what you want? By preparing for the hidden job market in this way, you hold a clear advantage over his competition.

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