Did the Hidden Job Market Disappear?

I read an inquiry on a career industry forum requesting evidence-based statistics for the hidden job market. One of the responses cited this article, The Biggest Job Search Myth, Debunked.

Is the Hidden Job Market real?

The gist of the article was that the 80-85% statistic widely quoted by career professionals for years stems from this quote by the late Richard Bolles, author of the very popular book, “What Color is Your Parachute?” It made the New York Times trade paperback bestseller list, selling 10M+ copies.

“Eighty percent of job openings are never advertised,” Mr. Bolles said. “Instead, you have to search for a job through contacts.”

(Side note: My husband had the 1979 edition of What Color is Your Parachute when I met him in 1979. We bought multiple paper and digital copies of editions since then after I became a resume writer. I deliberately chose to go to the 2010 Career Management Alliance conference in New Orleans primarily to hear Dick Bolles speak. He was at the time, 83. He died on March 31, 2017 at the age of 90.)

The author of The Biggest Job Search Myth Debunked claimed that because the hidden job market statistics are old and not grounded in evidence, it is a myth. But I disagree.

Is the Hidden Job Market still viable?

The issue arises with the term: Hidden Job Market. It suggests a mysterious place that no one can find. Today’s job market is different as explained by my colleague, Hannah Morgan, quoted in a Forbes article entitled, “How to Tap into the Hidden Job Market” by Robin Ryan.

Hannah explains:

“Historically, the hidden job market was about unadvertised jobs. Fast forward to 2020, and you’ll find that the process is still about getting to hiring managers and recruiters early in the process, ideally, before the job is posted or engaging with that employer as soon as a listing goes up.”

She says the secret today is about getting to the job opening early in the process so you can get looked at. “Getting a jump start in communicating with employers before the crowd arrives is critical.”

Hannah continues with more details of how the Hidden Job Market works in 2021.

This is the critical difference of how to understand the hidden job market. Keying in only on the word advertised is problematic.

Why I think the hidden job market is still viable

The term creates a mystery, but I coach my clients to recognize that a point-and-click strategy for job search doesn’t work. I give multiple strategies in my article: Change your Job Search Strategy to Win New Executive Roles.

  • Research up-and-coming companies entering new markets, launching new products, or hiring new leadership.
  • Leverage LinkedIn to identify decision-makers in the company you desire.
  • Identify networking opportunities and contacts to ask questions about companies.

Whether the hidden job market numbers are correct or not, the concept of finding jobs through networking is always viable.

At Design Resumes, after I develop your career marketing materials and coach you on viable job search strategies, you will be positioned to win your next role. Learn more.

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Did the Hidden Job Market Disappear?

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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