Take the Mystery out of the Hidden Job Market


Solve the Puzzle of the Hidden Job Market

I remember reading the Nancy Drew books, as a young girl, and was fascinated when I learned the “Secret of the Hidden Door” and other mysteries. If you are a job seeker, one of the biggest mysteries of our time is the Hidden Job Market.

It is estimated that 80% of job openings are not posted.  This is called the hidden job market.  As frustrating as it is, there are legitimate reasons why so many positions are not advertised on job boards or publicly . Your job is to understand why and know where you can find them.

Let’s Start with Why

There are many reasons why an organization may not advertise a position.  Here are some:

  • The position is not yet budgeted or approved
  • Due to pending mergers, reorganizations or acquisitions, an official announcement of an opening would be premature
  • The employer is replacing someone currently in the position and whose departure has not been finalized
  • A variety of reasons may require a confidential search       man-at-desk-overwhelmed-with-a-stack-paper-300x300

The most common reason, though, is  SHEER VOLUME.  Posting a position on a major job board  Continue reading

Invasion of the “Networking Thoughts Snatchers”

Though I look forward to and enjoy networking events, it was not always the case.  I remember feeling like a fish out of water or a stranger in a foreign land when attending a job fair or professional networking event and not knowing how to act, what to say and even how to stand.

Networking may not appear to be a natural thing; it can seem contrived and less than authentic.  But that doesn’t have to be true.  Let’s  take a step back and think about WHY we are attending the event, whether it be a career fair or your first meeting at a professional organization.

PREPARE:           networking and can't remember names

  1. Know your audience
  2. Know your purpose
  3. Anticipate conversations or questions

Don’t Worry; Everyone Has These Strange Thoughts

Don’t let the Thought Gremlins invade and distract. And they can get to anyone. A client of mine, with an outstanding sense of humor, shared some of the thoughts she had during her recent  job search. Continue reading

Want to get Hired? Take a lesson from Santa


Would you hire Santa?

Would you hire Santa?

Would you Hire Santa?  Believe it or not, you might learn a thing or two from ol’ Saint Nick about conducting a strategic job search. Think about this:  in good and bad times, Santa has been in demand for over a hundred years.  Though we are seeing a glut in talent and there are more job seekers for every job posted, people seek Santa out every December for the busiest and happiest time of the year.   In fact, he is finding employment earlier each year – sometimes before the ghosts and goblins disappear and the kiddies finish eating their treats.

What’s Santa’s Secret? Here are 3 tips:

Did Santa have a great career coach to support his job search?  Maybe; his action plan and strategies are successful time and time again.  Follow these tips to your own career success and don’t let anyone tell you that “no one is hiring during the holidays – that just isn’t the truth!”

What does Santa’s Resume look like?  

He knows the needs of his customers:

Santa identifies the perfect toys and gifts for all the children around the globe.  Almost everyone in the United States celebrates Christmas, regardless of their faith, so he is in big demand. People not only need his services but they want more and more of it as we spend more on Christmas each year. Brilliant job of identifying a unique niche, Santa!

Santa does his research and he “delivers” on his promise:

Santa’s product lines have changed over the centuries but he keeps current with modern trends and tastes. He delivers what he promises because he prepares far in advance of Christmas.  He monitors the behavior of children all year long and his elves analyze the data with positive precision.

How can you relate to this step?  Make sure you do your own research of positions, industries and professions in order to target 5 – 10 for your own job search.  Being laser focused can make the difference between applying to hundreds of posted jobs and being selected based on your concentrated efforts. Your research pays off when you can customize your resume and cover letter.

Santa is the networking ninja!

Everyone who is anyone knows Santa or is connected to him through someone else.  His linked in profile connections exceed  billions and he has more endorsements than any of the other 332 million on the most successful social media site for professionals.

The key to Santa’s networking success?  He is a giver and not a taker.  You can be too; when making a connection, always remember to ask how you can help before indicating you would like assistance.

Zappos might have the market on corporations delivering happiness but Santa delivers happiness to the whole world.

Santa has branded himself as the global delivery support of happiness. What’s your “career brand”?  Knowing the answer to that question is key to your job search success.

I’ve helped hundreds of professionals identify their own key strengths and design smart and focused  job search strategies that are results oriented.  Contact me at Patricia@CareerWisdomCoach.com

Photo credit: from  SD Schindler’s book How Santa got his Job



Fifty Years Old and Searching for your Ideal Job?


It almost breaks my heart when  clients tell me they are convinced that they won’t  get hired due to their age.  I assure them that we baby boomers are amongst the largest workforce groups  and corporate America continues to need us.  If you are, however, like many  and have sent out scores of resumes, applied to hundreds of job board postings and just aren’t getting anywhere, let’s talk.

older job seeker tips

Whether you want to or have to work as long as you can, it’s critical for those 50 and over to stay professionally relevant.  That translates to being essential and vital despite a demanding job market.

50+ years old Job Searching:  A Double Edged Sword

Most employees over 50 are known and valued for their experience, work ethic and stability; however, they are sometimes perceived as inflexible and resistant to change – especially changes requiring them to learn new technology.  In this 2012 AARP survey, over 75% disagreed with a statement reading  “I have a difficult time keeping up with all the technology required in my work.” Continue reading

Santa – The Ultimate Networking Role Model

With all the holiday gatherings, both professional and personal, it’s a great time to get out and network with potential employers, clients and leads. You are armed with your elevator speech and plenty of

Santa's networking style

Santa’s networking style

business cards and determined to talk to as many people as you can but WAIT……………

Can we learn anything about networking from Santa?  Let’s examine his approach: Continue reading

Linked In – Do it Right

Do it right?  Is there a wrong way?  Look at it this way:  Linked in is a mighty hard working tool that never sleeps.  If you have a strong profile, it will do much of your “work” for you.  Let it advertise your “brand”; let it find connections for you. The list goes on and on but……………..you need a very GOOD profile and you need to follow the advice below.

Let’s get started – Have you looked at your Linked In profile recently?  REALLY looked at it?  It’s hard to objectively critique yourself, isn’t it?  It looks pretty good to you but how does it look to a recruiter or hiring manager?

Linked In: Do it right!

Linked In: Do it right!

How’s your profile photo?  If you don’t have a photo, you MUST!  Did you know many profiles are completely overlooked when there is no photo?  You may not even be considered for the job though the rest of the profile portrays your experience so well.

And why do so many people take the effort to complete their profile in order to network but don’t  Continue reading

Going up? An Elevator Speech to take you there

Elevator Speech – what is it?

An elevator speech is essentially a short description of who you are and what you do, presented to a key person and takes about 30 seconds or the time it takes an elevator to go up a few floors.  Used for years in the sales and marketing world to “make a pitch”, it is also an essential to job seekers and those who are seeking a promotion.  In those cases, you are the “product”.

The elevator speech is a sound byte to create attention and interest from the listener so you can share more information later in the form of a resume or conversation.


An effective elevator speech takes time and effort to develop in order to succinctly share the information you want to in such a short amount of time.

  • Who am I?  You are a “solution-provider” of xxxxxxx
  • What do I do?


Continue reading


Mentoring is not a new relationship.  The concept of having someone, usually with more experience and knowledge, partner with you to help you navigate and manage your career, has been around forever.  Consider the words Apostle, Disciple or Apprentice.  A mentor is simply someone you can go to for advice, encouragement and guidance.  A mentor also provides you with objective feedback and counsel.

Some companies have a formal mentoring program where interested mentees are matched up with more seasoned employees or managers.  Even though more companies are learning the value of a structured program to groom employees, many employees do that have the availability of such an opportunity.

Most people interested in their career development would like to have a mentor but have no idea how to find that special someone.  If that sounds like you, simply ask yourself if you know of someone (in a prior work environment or in an organization you would like to work, an acquaintance you know through networking, an organization or church) who could meet these criteria and simply start your own mentoring relationship:

  • Experience beyond yours so you will benefit from expertise, knowledge, and experiences as well as mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Authentic interest in your career and willingness to offer you candid and honest feedback
  • Confidentiality of discussions, especially when your examples involve people known to your mentor
  • Ability to meet regularly

If you are interested, how do you get started?

  • Just Ask – let’s say you have selected a woman who you know and admire from a professional organization.  Tell her that you are interested in advancing your career and think you could gain much knowledge from her; would she be able to meet for coffee?  Once you meet, you can explain what you are trying to learn from her and would love for her to share some experiences.  Most people, if they have the time, are tremendously flattered and agree.
  • Respect your Mentor’s Time – Agree upon the frequency and duration of meetings with your mentor. Monthly or biweekly meetings work well.  Once you establish a schedule, be prepared for your meetings (whether face to face or by phone) with an outline of topics you would like to discuss.  Depending upon your mentor, she may prefer you send this in advance via email so she can be prepared.

Like most relationships, it takes time to develop an effective mentoring relationship.    You will be amazed at the ideas, insights and confidence gained from a mentoring relationship. In addition to a professional relationship, you will probably make a close personal friend.


I’m constantly asked, “Should I ‘ friend’  my boss on Facebook?”  Maybe you already have.  Maybe your boss sent you an invite and you felt pressured.  Maybe you thought you could use Facebook to your advantage.  Maybe you just thought it was harmless.

While it might seem like a good idea to be Facebook friends and know more about what’s important to the person in charge of your raise and promotion, there are also reasons to keep your distance.

  • First things first – your main relationship is that of employee to manager.  Your manager’s priority is to direct your work, as well as others, in order to ensure that company goals are met.  In order to do this, s/he reviews work and compares it to the other people managed.  Oftentimes, the measure of success is objective; however, there is always an element of subjectivity to every job.  Even among friends, conflicts and misunderstandings occur.  Since it’s an election year, many people have voiced their opinion on Facebook.  What happens if your manager is a staunch republican and you post that you are an Obama supporter?  What about other issues which come up for which you have an opinion?  It may be difficult, if not impossible, for your boss to ignore differences of opinion when crucial decisions, like a raise or promotion, occurs.
  • Be safe; keep a distance – most managers try their best to not get too involved in the lives of their employees in order to be fair to all those managed.  They know that favoritism, even if perceived, can lead to career limiting decisions and, sometimes, lawsuits.  If  you care about your   manager and his/her career, as well as your own, limit your relationship to work time.
  • What are you thinkin’?  –Even if you are cautious, your Facebook friends might post something to your page which compromises your professionalism.  Being on your guard isn’t enough in our social media world.  You can’t control everyone else’s posts.  Even though the post might not be yours, it can potentially harm your personal brand image at work.
  • I can’t ignore the request forever – If you choose to not be Facebook friends with your manager, and I hope you do, how do you decline the request without causing hurt feelingsHonesty is always the best policy, with a dash of humor.  Simply say that you value your career, not to mention theirs, too much to jeopardize it with an innocent mistake or misperception – yours or your fun loving friends.  I have used this technique successfully;  explain, with a warm smile, that you don’t need to be Facebook friends with people you see at work everyday and tell them you would rather spend quality face time with them vs virtual Facebook time playing Farmville.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a veterinarian?  How about a web developer?  An outstanding way to learn more about careers of interest to you is to talk with people who are already in the career field.

Most people are flattered to share information with someone who is interested in what they do. Not sure how to find someone in the area you are interested?  It’s easier than ever with Google and Linked In.

Simply search by googling  a job title or industry.  Use Linked In to find people through company names, professional organizations or by job title. Connnect  then email them or call them to introduce yourself and explain that you’re interested in knowing more about their job or profession. Don’t emphasize you are seeking employment yet; but rather, you’re looking for information and their advice.

The following are typical questions to ask in an informational interview:

  •   How did you choose this field or career?
  •   When did you begin your job or career?
  •   What school, training or certifications were required?
  •   How did you get your first job in this field?
  •   In addition to training, what experience would prepare me?
  •   Describe a typical day.
  •   What do you like best about your job or career?
  •   How has the job or career changed since you started?
  •   What do you like least about your job or career?
  •   What is a typical career path in this area?
  •   Where else could I find information about a career in this field?
  •   Who else could I speak with about a job in career or field?
  •   What additional information should I know about your career or profession?

Don’t forget to do your follow up after your interview.  Email or call them to thank them for their time and information.