The Hidden Job Market has become quite the buzz phrase in the past year. Job search experts allude to knowing where it is (which is a bit comical, since that’s contrary to the idea of it being hidden!). The reality is that the hidden job market is all around us. It isn’t so much a physical location or place in which you find it, but rather changing your behavior to uncover these seemingly invisible jobs. Here are a few tips on how to get started:

Begin with the End in Mind

Borrowed from Steven Covey, the end isn’t defined as simply a job. It isn’t just being employed. It’s much deeper than that. It’s about the problems you find/solve, the type of environment in which you thrive and are happiest (these two are inextricably linked). The more you start defining where you want to be by these terms, versus just a generic job title, the easier it will be to uncover where someone “needs” you most. When you start speaking to what a company “needs” and “wants” you can often define a role for yourself inside the organization. It doesn’t get more “hidden” than that.

Network without Asking for a Job

There is no value in introducing yourself to someone as a job seeker. That’s all about your needs, not theirs. First seek to understand, then seek to be understood (more Covey!). You have to establish “what’s in it for them?” The quicker you do this, the better you will be able to figure out who you can both help one another best. Again, when you identify their pain and establish how you can address it, you start making the case for how you will add value to their organization.

It’s all about Reciprocity

You’ll also find this to be an excellent litmus test in determining the best networkers. The great ones will always try to reciprocate. The not-so-good ones won’t. Hang on to the former and cut slack with the latter. But remember, just because someone doesn’t have a need to hire you doesn’t mean you can’t be great resources for one another. Think about degrees of separation.

Don’t have a plan on how to do this?  Check out this interview with a professional who found himself in a new city, with no network and unemployed…and listen to how he found a job without ever asking for one.

Be Online, but Get Offline

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are powerhouse resources for your job search. But you shouldn’t be spending the lion’s share of your time online and behind a computer. Just like no one is going to hire a resume, no one is going to hire an online profile.

Be a Hub

Position yourself as “the” resource for information in a niche that ties in with the end state you have in mind. Provide information for others and be a resource. Instead of trying to stand out in a crowd, get out of the crowd. By being a conduit for information that your audience (those who are in your field – peers or hiring manager) you make yourself relevant and needed – key components to getting hired.