Hidden Opportunities

Business man in city

Four Steps to Capitalize on Unadvertised Opportunities

Savvy job seekers know about the “hidden job market,” which shows that approximately 80% of the jobs available in the U.S. are not posted. For many reasons (time, money, unknown need), employers who might be willing to hire someone have not advertised their position. If you want to capitalize on the hidden job market, I suggest you follow the steps below to find a hidden job opportunity. If you are seeking other things like a relationship, new friends, activities, etc., consider replacing “job” with your goal to uncover these other hidden opportunities!


Decide exactly what you want to do and what you have to offer

  • Determine what you want to specialize in, what population you desire to work with,
    and what responsibilities you would like to have in a job.
  • Evaluate your values, interests, personality, skills, life experiences, and social influences to help you match your needs with theirs. You can learn more about assessing these areas on the Understand Yourself pages.


Decide where you want to use your skills and experience

  • Identify the type of agency you would like to pursue
  • Determine what kind of community/town/city would be best for you


Identify organizations that interest you the most, whether or not they are known to have vacancies

  • Make a list of all of the places that you would like to work
  • Research the organizations to determine their mission and other things important to you
    (time demands, responsibilities, flexible hours, etc…)


Using your resources, begin making contacts with organizations to learn more about them

  • Network! Use the phone book to find key personnel or contact people you know to learn more about an organization. Use the professional associations to network at conferences or through email to inquire about job opportunities
  • Use online job postings to identify the posted positions (but beware of posting personal address information on public job search sites)
  • Use informational interviews to meet people, learn more about an organization, determine how your needs may match theirs, and find hidden jobs.
  • Try volunteering or starting in another position (e.g., intern) with the organization. Many firms promote from within the company.
  • Contact the local United Way (211) for assistance in identifying relevant community resources as well.

To begin a successful job search, you will need to have your target job in mind. When you are ready to apply for the job, you will need to have an updated resume and cover letter, and brush up on your interviewing skills.

  • How does understanding the hidden job market expand your opportunities within your career or life?
  • What new information, people, and organizations do you want to explore?
  • What action steps can you take today to get started exploring the hidden opportunities you may be missing?