Have you ever heard of the "invisible job market"? I'd like to thank Amy, one of my newsletter subscribers, for the following suggestion: "One topic I would love to see is how to apply to companies who are not hiring or just not posting any jobs. How would you approach them?"
Is there a company in your area that you'd love to work for? Do you assume that, because you don't see them advertising in the classifieds or posting jobs on their website, they have no openings? That may or may not be the case. That truth is, only about one-fifth of job openings are actually advertised!
Here's how to tap into the huge "invisible" job market.
If you can refer to someone the addressee knows, this will give your letter a big boost. For instance, "Jim Jones in your accounting department mentioned that you might have a need for someone with a background in direct marketing" (or whatever your field is). Yes, this is name-dropping, and it works! If you don't yet have a name to drop, do some networking... talk to everyone you know and see if they know anyone who works at that company; join associations that may have members who work for that company; go to trade fairs in which they may participate... and so on and so forth.
Your cover letter is extremely important because it's your first contact with the hiring manager. It needs to make a powerful impression. Next, enclose a customized copy of your resume with each letter.
The more letters and resumes you send out to different companies, the greater your chances are of finding an unadvertised job opening and landing an interview.
If you're sending them an email or leaving a message on their voicemail, conclude with: "Please contact me at your convenience..." (leave your contact info; 24-hour phone number and email address). Any other steps you take will depend on the success of this one.
You might want to follow-up one more time after about 10 days if you don't get any response to your first contact. But don't continue pursuing it after that. Focus your job search activities elsewhere.
Even if the majority of people you contact say there are no current openings, these are not necessarily wasted steps. You are demonstrating a proactive approach, and employers admire drive and ambition. You may make such a great impression that you'll be remembered as soon as a vacancy opens up!
Remember that the invisible job market isn't really invisible. It is right in front of you to discover.
For even more information about job interview questions and how to answer them, consider the "Job Interview Success System."
One of the 5 key components of this system is a 31-page report entitled "How to Give Job-Winning Answers to Interview Questions." In addition to giving more tips and strategies on general answering techniques, it lists 45 of the easiest, toughest, silliest and most common job interview questions as well as how to respond to them.