The Invisible Job Market

March 18th, 2008

Are you having trouble finding a job that appeals to you? If you read the help wanted ads in the newspaper every day but can’t seem to find anything that appeals to you, don’t despair! Newspapers charge exorbitant amounts of money and rarely turn up very many leads, which is why you only see a fraction of the available jobs in them.  You need to look in the invisible job market for these unlisted jobs.

Most companies out there use the following strategy to find new hires

  1. Do nothing. That’s right, most companies don’t actively recruit for non-critical positions. It’s not uncommon for an “empty” position to go unfilled for many weeks or months.
    • This is especially true at larger companies where a few empty cubicles won’t adversely impact the company. As our economy continues to slump, we are going to see a lot of companies adopt this attitude to recruiting.
    • While some companies will simply stop hiring as they tighten their belts, others will take a receptive, but less proactive approach to finding new employees. That means that they probably won’t advertise heavily, but if the right person comes along they would be happy to take a look at what you have to offer.
  2. Recruit from within. A lot of positions are filled from within companies. It’s very typical for companies to post ads internally. While a lot of these will be filled by employees moving from one position to another, many of them will be filled by acquaintances of employees. This is where where networking comes in handy. You should let your friends and family know that you’re looking for a job, and ask them to keep an eye out for anything that you might be interested in. The focus of this article is not on networking; while it can be very effective, you shouldn’t depend on it so much as use it passively in your job hunt.
  3. Post a few job ads on the Internet. Small companies especially will start small in their forays into advertising their empty positions. It’s expensive! Putting an ad on most of the high traffic websites costs several hundred dollars for a single position. Since it typically takes weeks or even months for the right employee to come along, this can translate into several thousands of dollars just to fill one position. Newspaper advertisements are typically even more expensive.
  4. Hire somebody now. The previous steps can take days or months, but eventually they realize they’re not going to fill the position without making a serious effort; now they will step up their campaign. This may mean more spending on newspaper or online advertisements, or even hiring a recruiter. When they get to this point they’re typically very eager to fill the position. They’re either unwilling or unable to wait any longer to fill the position.

You may be asking, “If this is the way it works, why do employers waste so much time? Why not just accept that it’s going to cost a lot to find somebody, and fill the position immediately?”

As it turns out, this is the most cost-effective strategy. The reason is that a lot of jobs get filled without significant spending on advertising or recruiters, so it makes sense to wait a while before resorting to these methods. While networking is responsible for a lot of the filled positions in the “invisible job market,” a lot of the new hires are complete strangers. They literally walked in off the street and asked for a job.

The big misconception is that companies will let everybody know when they are hiring. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most medium and large sized companies are always hiring. They may not be actively looking, but if the right candidate showed up at any time they would be very happy to make a job offer. Even with low turnover, companies with hundreds of employees almost always have one or two empty positions.

Don’t be timid. If you would love to work at a certain company, send them a cover letter and resume now. Even if they aren’t interested in hiring at this moment, they won’t just forget you. Human resources departments always like to keep a pool of potential candidates on hand in the event that the business decides it needs to fill a position quickly.

Taking advantage of the invisible job market has advantages over the traditional job market

  1. Less competition. If you apply months before they planned to advertise the position, you may get the job without having to compete against anybody else.
  2. More pay. By coming to the company before it spent a lot of money on advertising, they may be in a position to offer you more. Once they’ve spent several thousands of dollars and weeks of HR time cultivating and interviewing applicants, the company may feel like you’ve already cost them a bundle.

When it comes down to it, the fact is you need a job.  You need to put food on the table and a new 48″ plasma TV with hi-def and all kinds of other features you couldn’t possibly live without.  So instead of reading this website or casually browsing the help wanted ads on the ‘net and in the newspaper, you should be hitting the street and finding the job you deserve.  It’s already out there on the invisible job market; it’s yours for the taking… you just have to ask for it.

Our online resume editor is now open to the public!

March 15th, 2008

Our online resume editor is now open to the public as a beta offering! Feel free to register and give it a try.

Our current version has the following features:

  • Your own subdomain of myresume.org!
    • E.g. If your name is Bill Jones, you could have your resume located at http://billjones.myresume.org
  • Attach up to 5 files to your resume. You can currently upload images {JPG and GIF} and documents {PDF, DOC, TXT}!
  • Awesome interface designed by yours truly. Okay, so it’s not *that* awesome [yet], but my mom says it’s cool… and she would never lie to me to protect my feelings!
  • Free technical support! (okay, so this isn’t really a feature but, hey, it is free)
  • 200% more exclamation points

Please note that the editor requires you to have a JavaScript enabled browser. 99% of browsers have this feature enabled by default, so if you’re not sure you should be fine. If the editor doesn’t work you can either enable JavaScript or get the newest version of Firefox if your current browser doesn’t support it.

We have several additional features in the pipeline, but if there’s something you would like to see just let us know.

If you have any problems, questions or comments, please leave a comment below!

What can potential employers find out about you on the Internet?

March 15th, 2008

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you want to know more about somebody?

A: You search for their name on Google.

What happens when you search for your own name?

Do you like what you find? If you’re like a lot of younger people today who are entering the job market, you may have some embarrassing things out there that you probably regret.

Whether it be a risque photo on Facebook or a post from years ago on some forum from your younger days, the Internet does not forget.

What can you do?

Find everything that’s out there. Inventory all the locations on the Internet that could conceivably be linked to you. This means searching for your name and email address on the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and MSN). A lot of times you will find things on one search engine that the other two don’t have.

Don’t forget to search for several variations of your personal information:

  • Search for your full name: First Middle Last
  • Search for your first and last names: First Last
  • If you have an uncommon last name, search for it by itself: Last

If you get back a lot of results (100+) and they’re not all about you, then you need to refine your search. Repeat the above searches but put quotation marks around them. This will restrict the search to sites where your information has appeared in that exact order.

Here are some other searches you should do:

  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Any monikers that are linked to your name. E.g. if your email address has a unique word or phrase in it that you also use to post on forums, search for this as well.

This is probably as far as most employers will go. However, these days it is important that you also look on the major social networking sites; search on Facebook and MySpace, if nowhere else. Even if you don’t have a profile on these sites, it’s important to find out if anybody else has written anything about you.

Cancel or make your social networking profiles private. Unless you set up your profile specifically for the purpose of job hunting, you really don’t want to expose too much of your personal life to potential employers.

Now what?

That depends on what your searches turned up. If your searches returned nothing, then you’re in the minority. Most people in their teens and twenties will have results from their school or college websites at the very least. These won’t hurt you, and they can in fact help you if the information is positive. Honor roll or extracurricular news on your school’s website is what you want to show up when employers look up your name.

If your searches came back full of things you’d rather forget, then you have some work to do in getting it removed.

  • If your friends have a lot of photos of you on their social networking profiles, you should ask them to remove the risque ones immediately. Also ask them to remove any other information from their profiles that you would rather keep personal.
  • If your name graced the headlines in a police blotter on a newspaper website, that’s not the first thing you want employers to discover about you. If such an incident occurred a long time ago but is still in on the newspaper website, you’ve got some work to do. Some newspapers discard old news stories after a certain period of time, meaning your brush with the law (if trivial) will probably disappear after some time. Unfortunately a lot of newspapers are beginning to archive everything they ever printed. If this is the case then you have a couple options:
  1. Call them up and politely ask them to remove the article or police blotter entry. If you really are innocent and didn’t do anything wrong, you can truthfully explain to the newspaper that you were found innocent and that it is harming your reputation.
  2. If you were found not so innocent, and they refuse to take your name off of their website, then you’ll have to get creative. One way is to put your name out on the Internet in a lot of positive places. Start a blog about your industry and post some clean and helpful material on forums and others’ blogs on subjects you are interested in. The more positive things you have contributed, the better, because not only will it give employers the “other side of the story” about you, it may even prevent them from finding that negative stuff. If the negative mentions of you get pushed to the second or third page of the search results, you’re probably home free.

Regardless of what you searches turn up, putting your resume on the Internet is a good idea. Not only can it crowd out some of the potentially negative things out there, it gives employers an up to date version of your resume. It’s also a lot easier to distribute than a traditional paper resume! Get started now by registering for our online resume service. Doing so will give you a simple address (e.g. example.myresume.org) and you can make changes at any time.