How To Search For Jobs

Your search for a job can be daunting. Depending on your stage in life, you may have obligations like a mortgage or young children. That’s why it’s important for you to do more than just stick to the visible job market. You need the right job and as quickly as possible.


Did you know that as many as 80% of hires come from the hidden job market?


What would you say if I could double or triple your chances of getting hired and all you had to do is work a little differently? It isn’t harder work, just something you may not be used to and invariably have to become comfortable with.

What is the hidden job market?

The hidden job market are jobs that aren’t advertised or posted online. We all know them. Your sister may have been promoted to management or your dad got a job working with his neighbour. It’s those jobs that people seem to get out of the blue when they weren’t obviously looking. 

The hidden job market is all about who you know. It isn’t that these people are specifically important, but that they may know someone who’s hiring.

Here are a few ways that are considered the hidden job market:


  • Resumes on file with managers, HR department, or employment agencies like Meta.
  • Referrals from friends and coworkers.
  • Being promoted from within the company.
  • Being connected through networking.

Where to start

You need to be prepared to take advantage of the hidden job market. It can be a more active process and you have to fully understand what you want in a job to appreciate and take advantage of any opportunities. 

Look at your cover letter and resume and review your hard and soft skills, your experience, and your education. Ask yourself whether you are defining those elements clearly enough for someone to get a picture of your abilities and work ethic.

SDS – Self Directed Search

A great way to get to the jobs that fit you the best is through a Self-Directed Search pioneered by John Holland. This process is designed to match your aspirations, experience, and skills to the best choice of career or educational opportunities. It is about developing your self-awareness.

Pro Tip: A self-directed process requires you to be honest and thorough to get accurate results.

During the SDS, you will first explore your desires. What do you want in a company or job? It helps to write them all down. These could be realistic or dream jobs. 

Once that is completed, you will take a test, either:

On paper provided by META


Online here

The test will determine where you fall on the scale for the personality types below. Once completed you can explore the types of jobs that align best with those personality types.

  • Realistic – has mechanical abilities, but may lack social skills
  • Investigative – has math and scientific ability, but often lacks leadership ability
  • Artistic – has writing, musical, or visual artistic abilities, but lacks clerical skills
  • Social – has social skills & talents, but lacks mechanical and scientific ability
  • Enterprising – has leadership and speaking abilities, but lacks scientific ability
  • Conventional – has clerical and math ability, but lacks artistic ability

Once you have done your self-assessment, you can see what industries or jobs correlate with your personality type. Because we aren’t one-dimensional, you would typically use your top three personality elements for comparison.

Here is an extensive list of industries by personality type:

Now that you are armed with an idea of how well your personality type aligns with different industries, you can focus on job postings that interest you and that you expect would offer a high level of success.

Application Success

Applications through standard markets

Getting this far, you’ve done the heavy lifting by understanding your desires and what industries you will excel at and aligning your resume and cover letter to communicate those desires and qualifications efficiently. It’s time to start the application process. Because you can see a clear difference between the standard and hidden job markets, you will have to establish a strategy that incorporates both. Take a look around the Internet and set up profiles at each of the employment websites so you can work more efficiently. 


Pro Tip: Set up alerts for when jobs are posted that align with the list you created earlier.


Here is a list of standard websites and job markets:

  • Meta handout – “Local Websites”
  • Meta
  • Indeed
  • Workopolis
  • Wow Jobs
  • Newspapers
  • Kijiji Ads
  • Government websites
  • LinkedIn jobs
  • Facebook jobs


Pro Tip: Remember not to just apply anywhere. You want to maximize your chances of getting an interview and job.


Applying through the hidden market


Accessing the hidden job market takes some thought. You have to think about people more than places. Let’s take a look at the list above again and go through the steps to maximize our chances of finding a job.


  • Resumes on file 
  • Referrals from people we know
  • Being promoted from within the company
  • Being connected through networking


We need to leverage the relationships we have and also get out and meet more people. 


Pro Tip: Don’t worry about what people think when you ask them about who’s hiring. If you trust them, then they’ll want you to succeed.


Step 1: Ask around. Do it on Facebook and LinkedIn. It isn’t about begging for a job, but indicating that you are looking and asking for contact information for someone you could speak to. Remember, this is your journey and as long as you are in control then there is nothing to fear.


Pro Tip: Sometimes the person to ask is your manager. The company you work for may have advancement options.


Step 2: Attend networking events, especially those in your field. They don’t have to be specifically job fairs. For instance, if you’re in construction, it would help to go a landscaping trade show and hand out business cards or resumes. The reps may not have time to speak long, but they’re in the process of finding more business which will lead to needing more labour.


Pro Tip: A customized resume and cover letter is optimum. Take the time to research the businesses you’d like to approach.


Step 3: Reach out directly to companies you like. With the same process in mind, take your resumes and cover letters to the source. Ask whether the hiring officer is available for a quick chat.


Pro Tip: Find the hiring officer’s name so you can address your documents properly and ask for them specifically.


Pro Tip: Be quick when you finally get a face-to-face meeting. You’re on their time and they are busy.


Step 4: Attend job fairs. Be prepared for an interview. Have your resumes ready. Dress for success.


Once you get into the habit of reaching out, you’ll find your search going much easier. You will start to recognize opportunities and also start to create your own. Some of these businesses may not be looking to hire, but your skills may allow them to expand so they could take a chance on you.


Things to Remember


Keeping the following in mind will make your search easier.

  • Always have references available
  • Ask your references first
  • Practice your elevator pitch (Thirty second infomercial all about you, who you are, what you want to do, how you can help.)
  • Know when to approach to maximize chances of success (ex: Food service – not traditional eating times, retail – when it is quiet, movie theatre – between show times, factory – during the day/not at lunch time)
  • Leave your cell phone in the car when you approach a company.(It’s distracting.)
  • Make sure you’re dressed for success. Leave your hat at home
  • Approach a company alone – no friends or family


Digital presence


In today’s connected world, you need to have a solid digital presence. Set up your voicemail so you can get back to employers quickly. You also need a professional looking email address such as


The most important thing you need to do when it comes to your digital presence is to make sure your social media profiles are in line. Upload a professional picture for your LinkedIn profile and change your privacy settings so a potential employer can’t see pictures of your family on Facebook or for that matter, the pictures of what you did last night. 


Pro Tip: When you have a full profile, you can use the job postings section to apply directly on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Pro Tip: Employers are increasingly looking at social media profiles to see what type of person they are hiring. 


Follow through and follow up


You’re going to send a lot of job applications. To make it easier, create a follow up document. Create a list of companies you have applied to with the following:

  • Company name
  • Hiring officer’s name
  • Whether they are hiring currently
  • Date resume was dropped off
  • Follow up date.
  • Notes

Hiring officers are busy. Give them time and then follow up with them to show initiative.


Hidden no more

Once you open yourself to the opportunities, you will find that the hidden job market is more like what we hide from ourselves. Don’t panic. Instead, take the time to recognize what you’re capable of and what you want to accomplish. Once you have a better self-awareness, you will be able to target people better to ask them for assistance. It isn’t that you’re asking them to find you a job, only the opportunities. It’s the qualifications seen through your resume, cover letter, and interview that will get you the job.

Belleville Office

META Services