Leveraging the Hidden Job Market Through Online Activities

Leveraging the Hidden Job Market Through Online Activities

Are you overlooking hidden jobs and missing online opportunities? What’s your online job seeker “IQ?”

As a career advocate (coach and recruiter), I speak to many disheartened, disenchanted, frustrated, and yet hopeful job seekers who are genuinely trying to find suitable work. A disproportionate number of them are hitting a wall after expending a great deal of energy. Or at a minimum, are encountering seemingly impassable roadblocks.

It’s often said that “knowledge is power,” but I subscribe to a different school of thought. From my perspective, knowledge plus action (and a bit of good timing and luck) can often make all the difference.

The numbers don't lie

There are many activities into which those in transition can engage, but not all activity equals productivity. Unproductive job search activities conjure up an image in my mind of a hamster on a treadmill.

For instance, depending on the study, 66 - 88% of job seekers land jobs with the help of a network. Knowing this, why don’t more job seekers spend a greater amount of time networking? The most common answers are that networking is uncomfortable for many, is highly unpredictable, and takes a fair amount of work, not to mention, skill. Still, there’s no denying the statistics, so networking should be a key job search activity.

The same applies to LinkedIn. There are still too many job seekers who deny the statistic that a compelling percentage of recruiters, HR folks, and hiring managers are searching LinkedIn for candidates (87%, per the June 2016 Jobvite study). Why then, aren’t all job seekers on LinkedIn? And why aren’t those who are LinkedIn members maximizing the tools and functionality, especially the free ones?!?

In today’s job market, you must remain ahead of the curve, and some of the best ways to accomplish this are to leverage the Internet.

Ideas to help job seekers become savvy

LinkedIn Profile

  • Do you have one?

Optimize Your Profile

  • Is your profile optimal with the right keywords in the right places to attract recruiters/hiring managers/others who may want YOU to be in THEIR network or those whom YOU want to be in YOUR network?


  • Are you reaching out to LinkedIn power bases? BOTH Open Link members (with paid Premium accounts ― many of whom allow you to send them a free Inmail) and L.I.O.Ns (LinkedIn Open Networkers with 500+ 1st connections)?

LinkedIn Endorsements

  • If your top 10 shown are NOT in-line with your target job, write to those who can confirm your skills. Ask them to endorse those skills to get them to appear as your top 10. (Note that endorsements can be reordered in the editing function.

  • It’s best to ensure that enough of those in your LinkedIn network are endorsing the skills you wish to display first.)

What's your network quotient?

  • Do you have a mix of those you KNOW WELL and those who are WELL NETWORKED? Experts agree that you need both. What is your GOAL mix comfort level? (90/10? 80/20? 70/30?)

Network building

  • Are you PURPOSEFULLY AND TACTICALLY building your network with weekly network growth goals (e.g., inviting 20 new contacts every week)?

Keeping pace with your industry 

  • Are you “Following” BOTH your target companies and laser-focused individuals on LinkedIn?
  • Doing so provides relevant news feeds and evidences your ongoing interest in keeping up with the latest news, jobs, etc. Are these VISIBLE on your homepage? (Recruiters and hiring managers look for/notice these things.)

Industry Specific URLs

  • In addition to mainstream job boards, are you regularly scheduling and conducting searches on laser-focused industry-related or job-specific websites?

Attach Work Samples On LinkedIn

  • Include contact info so recruiters can contact you easily. You can also attach your resume on LinkedIn (For those with multiple resumes, this may not be advisable.).

Job Boards/Resume Repositories

  • Be sure to update/refresh your resume on LinkedIn.com, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter.com, GlassDoor.com, etc., as this will attract attention.


  1. Are you aware that recruiters can see your resume on Indeed.com, even if they do NOT have a paid subscription? Click on “Find Resumes” in the upper left, and type your name as well as your zip code. Does your current resume appear?
  2. Since Indeed removes contact information from the top of your resume, you can list an email address and/or your LinkedIn profile address elsewhere on your resume to best ensure that you get a call. (Indeed also may still offer you the option to edit your profile/resume after you upload it and if so, you can list your phone number.)

Job alerts on other sites 

  • Target companies’ website career pages.

Settings (on LinkedIn and other career sites)

  • Are they set properly?
  • Is your activity feed busy?
  • Is your profile visible or private? Make sure your settings on all social network sites are set properly.

Is it apparent you are open to opportunities?

  • Do you state in your headline, summary, or elsewhere that you are “exploring,” “seeking,” or “looking” for other opportunities? Or do you state what you are doing on an interim basis?

What does your status suggest?

  • Do you state that you are a consultant? If so, a recruiter or hiring manager may pass on you believing that you are settling into a consulting career.
  • If you are not, try, “Interim Consultant” or “Currently taking on consulting assignments while seeking suitable full-time work.”

Are you accessible online?

  • Do you display some LI groups so that recruiters can message you through the group? Better yet, do you have a dedicated job search email and phone number (If not, go to Google and register for a new email and a FREE Google Voice phone number to use strictly for your job search.)
  • Be sure to list your contact info in two places on your profile ("Summary" and “Additional Information, Advice for Contacting” you).
  • So, how online savvy are you? And more importantly, how much MORE savvy will you be by implementing any of the ideas above that are new to you? I suggest that you prioritize the above list and begin chipping away at it. Although there is no one “silver bullet,” these ideas work and are highly productive job search activities. Those who are serious about achieving employment sooner rather than later will greatly benefit by systematically heeding the above advice.

For more tips, check out 19 Essential LinkedIn Profile Tips For Job Seekers.

Happy networking, and happy hunting!

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