A single fact that is commonly heard but not much understood leads me to the above conclusion . That fact is this:
“Between 65% and 90% of open jobs are never advertised.”
When I heard this 17 years ago I immediately pushed back. There was no way that I was almost 40 years old and was unaware of some “underground hiring process” that people can tap into. I had worked at a high level for several large firms by this point and if there was another way to find a job I would have heard about it by now. So the first step for you in reading this is to go to the internet and do a search to see if what I’m saying is true. Really, go try and prove me wrong first, as it is critical that you are on board with this revelation before I continue. Go ahead…I’ll wait for you.
If you did any digging (and I hope that you did) you will find more than a million citations online about dozens of studies over the past five decades confirming this. Maybe we are on to something here. If you are most people, at this point you are nodding and saying “Yes, that’s right…you have to network to find a job”. But you have questions: Who do I network with? Why would they meet with me? What do I ask them? Do I ask them for a job? What is the goal of the meeting? If they don’t know of a job what then? What am I really looking for from them? There is a much more important question though: What are the ramifications for you if this really is true?
Let me ask you a simple question. If I am a company with the best job, best pay, benefits, culture, development opportunities and best security… Why would I ever need to advertise that job? Advertising the job means that I have to meet with a bunch of strangers, all of whom have a vested interest in telling me whatever I want to hear…and I have no way of confirming that what they are saying is true. No, if my job is that great my LAST choice is to hire a stranger for it. I will insist on hiring someone that I know or has been referred to me. I don’t have to settle…I get my choice.
As a matter of fact let this piece of wisdom guide your job search. The more often and the more widely a job is advertised, usually the worse the job is. If I have a bad job to fill then I have to advertise it A LOT so somebody will eventually apply for it. Bad jobs are always available. Why? Because they are bad jobs …people don’t stay in them. This is a dangerous trap for a desperate job seeker. The worst jobs are generally the easiest to find advertised and require the least work to land. Like the old saying goes: “If you need it bad, you will get it bad”.
Have you ever noticed that there are almost zero president or board of director jobs on Monster or Indeed? Does that mean that no one ever hires those types of people? Of course not. It means that referral hiring is alive and well. One last thing…think about recruiters. Don’t they just network for money? What if there was a way to become your own recruiter?
I’ve spent the last 15 years teaching a process so people can become their own recruiter to more than 2,000 mid career professionals. The one thing that this realization makes clear is that your next job search HAS to be a research project. One that you define and control. You did it when you bought your last house or car didn’t you? Heck you did it to find a mechanic or the best pizza in town…how could this be different? The “coup de gras” to the whole “job search is about looking online for open positions” is this: Can you think of anything of value in your life that you looked for the same way that you look for a job? I didn’t think so.
The fact is we only look for a job the way we do because someone told us those were the rules when we were 16 years old. What if they were wrong? What if there really is another way that mimics research that you have already done dozens of times in your life? What if you really do have control over your job search? The implications are wonderful, scary and endless. So stop doing a job search today…and start a research project both online and with people that you know. Where are the best places to work where you are? What things are important for you in a job? What organizations have won awards for the way they treat their employees? Who are the quiet companies that no one ever leaves? Research is the answer…now what is your question?
Looking online for a job is throwing darts at a dartboard…in the dark. Trouble is the cost to your life if you choose the wrong job is very high. Don’t blindly believe me. Do a little research of your own. The world is waiting for you. The employers of choice are looking for you…just not online.
Be Humble, Be Sincere, Ask for Help,