the Hidden Job Market
Use Your over 50 Experience to Your Advantage
Hunting for a job at any age is not easy. After age 50 this task can be more difficult as
you may not have looked at the job market for a long time. The best secret in your after 50 job search is to
study and learn the value to uncover the hidden job market.
It’s been estimated that only about 20% of the job openings are actually advertised. So if you use your
creativity in finding a new job after 50 you will usually find great job leads in the other
Find the New Job After 50-Uncover the Hidden Job Market
So for starters searching for job openings or potential job openings in the hidden job market is by far the best
technique for your job search. And for the after 50 job applicant it will reduce the time required for hooking up
with the right job and many times the job found will be more in line with the your career goals.
Follow the 80/20 rule. If 80% of potential jobs are unadvertised, budget your time and effort accordingly. This
approach will put you ahead of the majority of job hunters who spend too much of their job hunting time chasing the
advertised job openings.
Another way to look at the hidden job market is that a hidden job is by definition harder to find, there are fewer
people looking for these job leads so there is less competition for them. Moreover, many employers often advertise
job openings as a last resort. Advertising means extra expenses and time before the job is filled.
5 Tips to Uncover Hidden Job Market Job Openings
Here are just some of the techniques to put your over 50 experience to work finding an unadvertised job
1. Networking: Family, friends, former co-workers, customers, business associates of all kinds,
neighbors, and networking groups are all candidates to help you find that hidden job. If you are not up to speed in
using Facebook, and Linkedin to expand you reach add it to your research. Study up on the appropriate procedures
and put these possible contacts to use.
(Recently a 53 year old manager, who graduated from a small mid-western college over 30 years ago, used Linkedin to
spread his message to over 300 grads from the same school. He got several good job leads all of which were
unadvertised, and one resulted in a good job.)
Put together a summary of your experience and accomplishments and specifically what type of job you are looking
for. Keep good records of when and who you contacted. Follow-up on all leads and remember to ask for referrals in
Many times when you get a “no,” it may just mean they have no openings that fit your skills at that time
but they may know someone in another organization that could have just the job that fits your
Don’t overlook volunteer positions, clubs and career associations to extend your networking net to find
the right hidden job opportunity.
2. Trade and Career Journals: Studying industry, trade and career journals are a
great way to keep track of trends in your industry or career. (Don’t forget to look at back issues-as sometimes it
takes months for a change to become effective.) Is someone expanding, contracting, reorganizing, merging or
otherwise changing direction? In almost every situation they need more staff to help resolve their problems.
Local business journals are also a good source of possible job leads.
3. Temporary Contract Position: Many times while working as a contractor, they like your work and
offer you a position. It hasn’t been advertised and you may be the only candidate. Or at the very least it will be
an additional opportunity to expand your job hunting network.
4. Trade Show Job Leads: Trade shows can be an excellent source of hidden job leads. The launch of
new products or services at the trade show can reveal hidden job opportunities. Also, trade shows are an excellent
source of networking leads.
5. Informational Interviews: If you are changing careers or need additional information about an
employer, or an industry a short informational interview with someone working in the career you are interested in
is an excellent way to gather information. Do not push your job hunt in the interview. Let the relationship develop
and use the interview to gather information and referrals.
The hidden job market will no longer be hidden if you follow the above ideas. Be creative and in your search you’ll
find other sources of unadvertised jobs. Each career has a different set of rules and circumstances. Use your
experience to your advantage. As someone after age 50, you should have a full rolodex of contacts. Network your way
to success in the hidden job market.
by John Groth - June 15, 2010