Fully 70-80% of jobs go unadvertised by employers, who fear being deluged by hundreds of resumes from applicants, most of whom won't be qualified.
With that in mind, it makes sense to spend about 80% of your time cracking this "hidden" market of unadvertised jobs. And a good way to do it is to contact hiring managers at companies you want to work for. Your aim? To prove that hiring you would be a terrific investment, one that makes or saves them more money than they would pay you in salary.
So, where do you find a list of these hiring managers?
You can't find one. You have to build your own list.
Fortunately, it's fairly simple to do.
So say two experienced recruiters, David Perry (author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0") and Mark Haluska (principal of recruiting firm Real Time Network, in Pittsburgh, PA).
First of all, what level of decision maker should you talk to about creating a job or hiring you for one that's unadvertised?
"You want to contact the individual two levels up from the position you are applying for," suggests Haluska. "There are two reasons for that. First, the person two levels up has the bigger picture. They may actually be looking to replace the person below them, who would be your boss."
"Second, if you're really good and you contact the person you would work for, if they are small-minded, they may be threatened by your credentials," which can kill your chances, according to Haluska.
In the Darwinian world of office politics, this makes sense. If you display more initiative than your next boss or outshine someone they recently hired, you risk making that boss look bad, which is not a recipe for success.