Feature: The Overlooked Job Market

Feature: The Overlooked Job Market

Feature: The Overlooked Job Market

Back in the days prior to the arrival of the Internet and World Wide Web, career counselors and job search experts would often talk about the “hidden job market.” They were referring to exceptional employment opportunities that were difficult to find because they were seldom formally advertised. Instead, they were filled through informal strategies such as networking and employee referral. Therefore, while there were certainly other good jobs to be had, the key to a truly successful job search was to figure out how to crack into this hidden job market.

Today, the same is true and then some. Not only do we still have a hidden job market, but we now have an “overlooked job market,” as well. This market includes very desirable jobs that are out there in plain sight on the Internet, but are seldom uncovered by the vast majority of job seekers. They are posted on job boards, but overlooked by those who are qualified to apply. Why does that happen? Because many job seekers don’t know where to look.

As I’ve often noted, there are at least 40,000 job boards and career portals on the Internet. Because we are all susceptible to advertising and are often creatures of habit, however, we tend to limit our choices to a very small number of sites. The ones we typically use are:

  • those that are the best known because they are advertised the most and/or
  • those that we have always used, since we first began visiting job boards back in the last century.
  • Now, there’s nothing wrong with using a site with which we’re comfortable, but the job board population is an ever changing one, and stopping short of tapping its full dimensions virtually guarantees that we will overlook some great employment opportunities.

    How can you probe the Overlooked Job Market? The best way is to develop a personal search algorithm that will enable you to look into every segment of the job board population that can potentially serve you. The following 5-step process will get you started.

    Step 1: Probe the sites that focus on your career field. Use a browser such as Yahoo! or Google or your WEDDLE’s Guide to identify and visit sites that specialize in employment opportunities for those in your specific profession, craft or trade.

    Step 2: Probe the sites that focus on your industry. Use the same resources you used in Step 1 to identify and visit sites that specialize in that sector of the economy (e.g., telecommunications, financial services, hospitality) in which you have the strongest level of experience.

    Step 3: Probe the sites that focus on your hometown. Use the same resources to identify and visit sites, including that of your local newspaper, that specialize in the geographic area where you live or want to.

    Step 4: Probe the sites that focus on any special attribute you may have. Use the same resources to find sites that focus on your gender, ethnicity, age, national origin or any other characteristic (e.g., your status as a veteran, a physical challenge) that may distinguish you in the workforce.

    Step 5: Develop your personal search algorithm for cracking into the Overlooked Job Market. Pick a single site in each of the categories above that best provides the kind of employment opportunities you seek (e.g., they’re at the right salary level, from the employers for which you want to work). Then, pick two general purpose sites (i.e., those that provide employment opportunities in a wide range of career fields and industries) that meet the same criteria. Combine these two groups of sites into your personal search algorithm. It will look like this: 2GP + 4N


  • 2GP represents the two general purpose sites you selected and
  • 4N stands for the four niche or specialty sites you identified.
  • Sure, it will take a little work to research the sites that you uncover. And to sustain the quality of your coverage of the Overlooked Job Market, you’ll have to periodically review the entire job board population-I recommend that you do it at least annually-to ensure that you’re still using the sites that will best serve you.

    Even then, the work’s not done. What remains, of course, is to search the sites you’ve identified. You have to check them regularly to see what jobs are being posted there. Using a job agent can dramatically cut down on that effort, and I recommend that you use these agents if they’re offered by the sites you’ve selected. However, such agents are far from perfect, so I also recommend that you visit the sites yourself at least weekly and conduct your own personal search of the jobs posted there. You can find an opportunity that doesn’t exactly match the profile you’ve given your agent, but the agent cannot. And that human “in-site” is an integral part of your cracking into the Overlooked Job Market.

    Finding a dream position is called a job search for a very good reason. You have to go beyond looking at what’s immediately visible and available in well known places. Today, that means you have to be able to uncover both the Hidden and the Overlooked Job Market.

    Thanks for reading,


    P.S. July is Pitch In and Help Out Month. Tell your colleagues about WEDDLE’s newsletter. They’ll appreciate your interest in them and how the newsletter fills out their skills and knowledge.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    The Economic Policy Institute released its report on employment in 2004, and its findings were, at one and the same time, unsurprising and insightful. On the unsurprising side of the ledger, it reports that there were 1.4 million fewer new jobs created last year than would normally have been the case at that point during a “typical” recovery from a recession. Insightfully, it reveals that one of the reasons for this modest improvement in the job picture has been employers’ growing reliance on temporary and contingent workers. Why is that insightful? Because taking a temporary or contingent position can provide several important benefits to anyone in an active job search. First, you’re getting paid. That relieves some of the financial stress of your situation. Second, it gives you a way to “strut your stuff,” to show an employer the caliber of the contribution you can make. That’s the best way to compete for a full time position. What’s the downside? You’ll probably not get the level of benefits you’re used to and/or may need. For example, according to Staffing Industry Analysts, just 10% of the estimated 2.5 million U.S. temporary workers have health coverage through their employers.

    LeadershipIQ.com conducted a study of why CEOs are fired and found that the conventional wisdom-CEOs are most likely to be shown the door when financial performance sags-is wrong. According to its research, 31% of CEOs get the boot for mismanaging change, 28% for ignoring customers, 27% for tolerating poor performers, 23% for “denying reality” or being unwilling to face up to difficult situations, and 22% for talking too much and doing too little. While all of these performance-related problems can result in degraded financial results, it was the problems, themselves, that were the grounds for dismissal, at least according to those interviewed in the project. Said another way, CEOs are routinely fired for such actions even when the company is making money, and that contention is very hard to believe. The study took four years to complete and involved 1,087 board members from 286 public and private business organizations where the chief executive was fired.

    RetiredBrains.com published a book called You’re Retired, Now What? A Reference Guide for Retiring Americans. The guide provides information for “seniors” on such subjects as finding a part-time or temporary job, volunteering, becoming computer literate, prescription drugs, memory loss, assisted living and long term care insurance, continuing education, and scams targeted at seniors. It lists over 1,000 references and Web-sites that provide information to help seniors maintain and improve their quality of life. The book is available on the site (which is a free job board serving seniors) for $14.95 in hard copy and $9.95 as a downloadable PDF file.

    Right Management Consultants released the results of a survey of 2,500 job seekers which found that over half (56%) were contemplating a significant career change. Even more interesting, the majority of those who reported an interest in making such a shift were between the ages of 56 and 60. If that describes you, what’s the best way to pull your plan off? Right suggests that you consider interning. It reports seeing a 10% increase in employers using internships with “older workers” over the past ten years. The key, of course, is to structure an intern experience that serves your goals as well as those of the employer. For example, make sure that the work you will be doing will expose you-in a meaningful way-to the career field you want to enter and, if possible, structure your work to include time off for training or education in the skills it requires. Also, ask if the company can provide you with a mentor who is experienced in the new field and give you access to any appropriate training programs it will be conducting during your internship.

    The Society for Human Resource Management announced the winners of its annual Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America competition. The winners are:

    Small Companies

    Analytical Graphics, Inc. Exton, PA

    Triage Consulting Group San Francisco, CA

    Insomniac Games, Inc. Burbank, CA

    Empower MediaMarketing, Inc. Cincinnati, OH

    archer>malmo Memphis, TN

    Medium Companies

    Genencor International, Inc. Palo Alto, CA

    ACUITY, a Mutual Insurance Company Sheboygan, WI

    Sage Products, Inc. Cary, IL

    Hypertherm, Inc. Hanover, NH

    The Integer Group Denver Lakewood, CO

    For a complete listing of the 50 winners in each category, see the SHRM Web-site.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. Your kids are now in high school, and you want to return to your career as a hospital admitting/intake professional. Which of the following sites would be a prescription for success in your job search?

  • HospitalSoup.com
  • HospitalJobs.com
  • HospitalHelp.com
  • Hospitals-Online.com
  • 2. You’re an experienced sales manager living in Atlanta, GA. If you’ve decided to look for a new employment opportunity, which of the following sites would be a hot source of leads?

  • AJCjobs.com
  • AtWork.com
  • HotWorkers.com
  • GATalent.com
  • 3. You’ve just graduated from college, and you’d like to find an employer that’s offering a management training program. Which of the following sites would likely lead you to success?

  • MonsterTRAK.com
  • CollegeRecruiter.com
  • CollegeGrad.com
  • CampusCareerCenter.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories



    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Contract, Consulting

    Distribution of jobs: National – USA

    Number of jobs: 4,477

    Salary levels of jobs: Hourly, $76-100K/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 365 days

    Restrictions on who can post: If registered; fee of $2.08/month

    Other services for job seekers: Listserv/discussion forum on-site, Career information, Links to other sites with additional information/resources

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but HospitalHelp.com, a site operated by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

    2. Only AJCjobs.com; the AtWork.com site offers franchises for @work, HotWorkers.com is an adult site, and GATalent.com is the site of Great American Talent, a booking service for entertainers.

    3. All of them.