15 Secrets To Help You Tap Into the Hidden Job Market

Some employment opportunities are not made public, but these tips can help you find them.

woman sitting in queue with other candidates for job interview
Updated May 28, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Finding a full-time job is not easy. You're competing with a lot of other people who are also looking to get ahead financially, and what complicates matters even more is the so-called “hidden job market.” 

The phrase typically refers to job openings that are not publicly advertised on job boards or other online platforms. These jobs increase your chance of getting the job because they aren't flooded with applications.

And while securing a job often can take hours and hours of scouring the web, finding an unadvertised job requires a different kind of skillset. Here are 15 ways to discover jobs that aren't posted elsewhere. 

Earn money online by taking surveys

$55,000 might sound crazy … but with a company called Survey Junkie, it’s possible to get your share of it every day by taking their surveys in your extra time.

Follow these simple steps to start earning:

  1. Sign up for an account with Survey Junkie here.
  2. Take surveys.
  3. Repeat daily and get paid for sharing your opinion!

P.S.: You can cash out with as little as $5 through PayPal or bank transfer, or transfer to gift cards from a number of stores.

Get your share of $55,000 daily by signing up here

Nail down a quick elevator pitch

Andrey Popov/Adobe businesspeople discussing standing near elevator

Crafting a good elevator pitch — in this case, a brief way of introducing yourself and your skills — is crucial for networking and uncovering unlisted jobs.

The ability to quickly pitch yourself can prompt someone to recognize your qualifications for a job opening in their organization. 

This, in turn, can lead to valuable connections and potential referrals to hiring managers so that you can get introduced to an opportunity that will help you build wealth.

Attend networking events

pressmaster/Adobe two intercultural delegates and their colleagues

There are always networking events and volunteer opportunities hosted by nearby businesses and organizations, and social media sites like LinkedIn are a good way to find them. 

Attending these events can help you to expand your professional network and learn about unlisted job openings. Events can connect you with people seeking someone who has your skills while attending these events yourself demonstrates your interest in a potential new role. 

Pro tip: Make sure you avoid making mistakes, like not being prepared. Be sure to have that elevator pitch ready so you can highlight your abilities and value if the opportunity presents itself.

Attend job fairs for face-to-face time

engel.ac/Adobe businesswoman at a trade fair

Job fairs can seem like a bit of a cattle call, but they offer a valuable opportunity to engage with multiple employers face-to-face.

And since they are organized by companies, professional organizations, and educational institutions, everyone knows why they are there.

Attending job fairs enables you to interact with a diverse range of employers in a concentrated timeframe, maximizing your chances to find hidden opportunities.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.1

How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.

Try it

Create a list of ‘dream jobs’ or companies

contrastwerkstatt/Adobe redhead woman standing daydreaming

The fundamental concept behind the hidden job market is that opportunities are not limited to what is listed.

Make a list of dream jobs and companies you want to work with. After you have a list of target employers, reach out and network directly.

Social media is a great way to start these conversations. Stay proactive to boost your chances of landing the ideal job.

Go after companies directly

Siam Stock/Adobe executives in a black suit

Once you have your list of dream companies, do not limit yourself to the jobs listed on third-party sites. It costs companies time and money to post on these job boards, so they’ll likely be interested to hear from someone directly.

A good rule of thumb is to open discussions with a mutual contact within the organization or someone who is part of their human resources team.

This could help you get in on the interview process for a job you didn't know existed, which can lower your financial stress as you're able to find a job more quickly. 

Personalize your LinkedIn experience

wichayada/Adobe man using linkedIn smartphone.

LinkedIn is so much more than a job board because of how it can be personalized. From your “about” section to recommendations, there are a ton of ways to make the platform your own.

LinkedIn also hosts industry-specific groups that can allow you to network directly with recruiters, hiring managers, and decision-makers. Join groups relevant to you and do some research before you reach out.

Engage in genuine conversations with your network

Tamani Chithambo/peopleimages.com/Adobe men talking at networking event

People focus on networking for a good reason: It opens all kinds of doors. A key differentiator, though, is to invest in personal connections.

Cultivating genuine connections can be more effective and personally fulfilling than limiting yourself to small talk.

If someone feels like they truly know you, their professional recommendation will come across that much more strongly to a hiring manager.

Consider using more social media platforms beyond LinkedIn

Indiloo/Adobe Chalkboard - social media icons

LinkedIn isn’t the only social media site professionals use. You should also utilize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to establish connections with employers, recruiters, and potential contacts.

These platforms also allow you to cultivate your professional reputation and broaden your network of contacts.

Just be sure to maintain a professional online presence so that when the opportunity arises, you come across as a dependable and reliable individual.

Send a note of interest

BullRun/Adobe cheerful freelancer checking notifications on smartphone

A note of interest is just that. You can send a quick note to anyone unprompted. Use it to showcase your skills, outline your preferred roles, and attach your resume or portfolio.

And in terms of who to send it to, it’s helpful to find someone you can make a personal connection with.

Whether you attended the same college or are familiar with the area they’re from, find something interesting you have in common.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Take advantage of your alma mater’s alumni network

Mirko Vitali/Adobe men and women taking selfie sticking out tongue

Getting your degree does not mean the college experience has nothing left to offer. Alumni networks remain a valuable resource for hidden job opportunities.

They often have strong connections with various companies and can help put you in touch with the right people.

Your alma mater also likely wants to see its graduates succeed, so don't hesitate to leverage this option. They likely have a department that can help you network with other alumni. 

Research is essential

Prostock-studio/Adobe man working online with laptop at home

Scoring a dream job with your target company won’t be as likely if you do not stay up to date with what it is doing.

Google News Alerts are free and can provide information on organizations, decision-makers, and industries of interest.

From current social endeavors to new team member announcements, mentioning any of these tidbits shows you have a major interest in a company or industry.

Start freelancing the type of work you want to do full-time

BullRun/Adobe male freelancer enjoying distance job

Freelancing is a great “try before you buy” tactic when you are job hunting because it lets you explore various job roles and industries before making a long-term commitment.

By taking on freelance projects, you can gain valuable experience, expand your skill set, and discover new career paths.

Freelancing also offers the flexibility to choose projects that align with your interests and goals.

Temp jobs can get your foot in the door

Pixel-Shot/Adobe secretary talking through headset in office

Like freelancing, one reason to go for a temp job is to boost your bank account without a long-term commitment. This also gives you the opportunity to see if you enjoy both the company and the work.

Employers can convert temporary workers into full-time employees after a contract expires if they like how you performed. Think of temp jobs as a pathway to potential long-term employment.

Introduce yourself to recruiters

Prostock-studio/Adobe personnel manager and young job applicant on work interview

Recruiters, or headhunters, can be valuable allies in your job search. If you can establish a connection with a recruiter, that can open the door to hidden job opportunities.

Since their job is to find the right person for the right company, collaborating with them can significantly enhance your job search and increase your chances of finding the perfect match for your career aspirations.

Continue to put yourself out there in unique ways

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe smiling men in sunglasses holding golf clubs outdoors

Networking goes beyond formal events or social networks. Do not be afraid of tactics that might seem less business-centric.

Socialize with new acquaintances, maybe friends of friends; join book clubs or meet-ups. Engaging people “in the wild,” so to speak, tends to lead to discussions about businesses and careers. 

By expanding your network socially, you can increase your chances of discovering unadvertised job openings through word-of-mouth.

Bottom line

Africa Studio/Adobe young woman waiting for interview indoors

The hidden job market is a great way to find fulfilling employment that can also help you move beyond living paycheck to paycheck.  

While job boards and online platforms are still widely used, there are a lot of untapped job options waiting to be discovered. 

By implementing the strategies outlined here, you can dramatically increase your chances of securing a dream job, and at finding those jobs that aren't readily available on the large job search sites.

SurveyJunkie Benefits

  • Over $55,000 paid to members daily
  • Earn up to $130 a month taking 4 or more surveys daily
  • $76 million paid out to date
  • 20M+ lifetime members and BBB accreditation

Author Details

Will Vitka

Will Vitka is a D.C. area reporter and writer. He previously worked for WTOP, The New York Post, Stuff Magazine, and CBS News.