Many people mistakenly believe the unadvertised job market simply equals stumbling upon a job or two as a result of “networking”.

I am delighted to share with you that the unadvertised market is so much more than that!

Simply speaking, the unadvertised or hidden job market is the 80% or so of jobs that are filled before those jobs need to be advertised on major job boards.

In what ways do they get filled? They can include:

 Word of mouth
 Internal promotions
 Referrals
 Executive recruiters

Why aren’t all jobs instantly available on a job board? How this happens is really quite easy to understand.

Picture yourself the president of a mid-sized company. You just promoted your senior VP of Operations and your controller recently joined another company. This has left you with two key position openings that you have to fill in the next 60 days.

Where do you look first?

Well, you probably pick up the phone and call a couple colleagues to put the word out there through people you respect and trust. You might share your needs with executives within your own company – especially your VP of sales. They may know of someone they can refer that fits the bill and would fit in with your company.

Perhaps you look and give some consideration to your internal team to identify anybody who may be ready for a promotion.

After these initial efforts, if a few weeks pass with no star candidates on the horizon, you may call your executive recruiter contact and pay them to bring you three candidates that meet your needs (that is a rather costly but effective technique, by the way).

You may post these two positions on your corporate website.

You may additionally post job ads on association job boards that relate to these positions.

If all of this produces little result, then the positions are generally turned over to human resources, who may in fact, post a job opening on one or more major job boards.

Now as a job seeker, isn’t it interesting to imagine the stark difference in the kind of interview experience you could have – if you had the opportunity to interview BEFORE these key positions landed on the human resources director’s desk? Let’s take a look:


• Opportunity to meet immediately with the key decision maker
• Little to no competition for the position
• Maximum leverage to present a value proposition
• Opportunity to learn directly from the key decision maker exactly what he/she is looking for in a star candidate
• Faster hiring process/ less formalities

• Stonewalled by human resources
• Formidable (even ridiculous) amounts of competition
• Value propositions to HR fall on deaf ears unless your qualifications perfectly match the posted position
• Less information given on what the company is actually looking for in a star candidate

Learning techniques to tap into this hidden market is easier than you might think and will open career doors and opportuneities that traditional job search metods cant come close to matching!

Author's Bio: 

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the founder of the #1 online executive resume source for VP to C-Level Executives,, a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. She is a multi-award-winning and multi-certified executive resume writer and careers industry thought leader. She has been seen and heard in Forbes, WSJ, Inc., TIME, and NBC.