Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Don't Be Afraid of Change

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.” - Thomas Edison

The key to being successful as a job seeker often times comes down to our ability to recognize change. Plain and simple…CHANGE…embrace it, anticipate it, and most importantly – benefit from it. Understanding change, requires a better understanding of the “hidden job market”.

What is the “Hidden Job Market”? Quite simply, the hidden job market is the market of jobs that are open, yet generally unadvertised. To understand this hidden job market, it’s easiest to understand the process of job creation…in other words…how jobs are created.

Job creation is the result of either a problem or an opportunity arising in an organization. In the most basic terms, the job creation process is set in motion because something has changed. Change can occur either inside or outside of the organization. Sometimes changes are positive (market growth, increased sales, new product line, etc.), sometimes they are negative (unsatisfactory performance, turnover, etc.). Either way, change is good for you as a potential job seeker.

The next step in job creation occurs when the organization recognizes the problem or opportunity. Sometimes this happens immediately, sometimes it is even anticipated…often times though, it takes weeks or even months to be recognized. As a job seeker, this can be a very good spot to take a proactive approach to the job search. Once the organization recognizes the problem or opportunity, it creates a job to solve the problem or capitalize on the opportunity.

Here is where the “fun” begins. Once a job is created, the obvious next step is for the employer to fill the vacancy. At this point, what does the employer do to fill the position?

The first place that most employers turn to fill a vacancy is within their professional network. The professional network for a business consists of:
1. Hiring Manager’s trusted friends and colleagues.
2. Internal employees’ trusted friends and colleagues.
3. Hiring Manager’s and employees’ professional network.

The next place that most employers will turn is asking for referrals from the professional network. At this point in the job creation process, the opening is not advertised…therefore “hidden”. As we discussed last month, some professionals estimate that 80% of the jobs are filled at this point.

Here is a list of questions that should guide the job seeker:
• What companies are going through changes?
• What is the change they are going through?
• What opportunity does this change create for me?
• Am I a part of this company’s professional network?