Dear Matt: Why is there such a thing as a hidden job market? Don't employers want as many candidates as possible to apply for a job to find the best person possible? I've heard many jobs never get advertised. How does a person find these jobs if they are not advertised?

Matt: Recruiters certainly want to find the best fit for the jobs that are available, but the last thing they want to do is sift through 200 to 300 résumés by advertising every position they have open. Human resources departments are no different than other departments within an organization. Many are often understaffed, and many human resource personnel wear multiple hats. Hiring is only one aspect of their job.

That's why when it comes to hiring, employers like to hire people they know, or people who are recommended from people they know. That's why I promote networking, using LinkedIn and making connections with other business professionals - even if you are not in the market for a new job.

A classic example is how I came to write this column back in 2003. By keeping in touch with my former employer after a publication I worked for was shut down, I was top of mind when the opening to write a column for this section came up.

Sometimes companies will gain a new client or sign a new contract, creating an immediate need for more help. They don't have time to go through a long and tedious job search process and the first place they will look is through their network.

Continue to search advertised openings. Find out who the hiring manager is at companies you would like to work for - even if they aren't hiring for positions that fit your skills and experience. Try to make contact with them to introduce yourself and let them know about your background and experience. Connect with them on LinkedIn and begin building that relationship. When they do have an opening that fits, you have already made that introduction - and you could have an in - and be the one who finds a job in the hidden job market.

For those looking for more information, go to or call 1-888-438-5627 to find upcoming classes on the hidden job market through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's job seeker services.

Do you have an employment related or job search question for Matt? E-mail him today at

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