How to Land An Ideal Job Through The Hidden Job Market

By Donna Crombie

Now that you have a more solid sense of your strengths and your ideal work conditions and you have narrowed down what you’re looking for, identify companies that you want to target.

What job titles appeal to you? Is there high turnover? What are the mission and vision statements of these organizations and do they live by them?  Find out the pay range, flexibility and benefits. If you’re looking to work from home, which companies are open to this? Clarify your options.

The majority of openings are not posted on websites or listed publicly. According to CNBC, “as much as 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections”. The opportunities that are listed may get hundreds of applicants and if it’s remote, you’re competing with that many more job seekers, potentially on a global scale.

Fortunately, there is another way to increase your chances for landing work and not have to contend with others. Go after the jobs that aren’t advertised, positions in the so called “hidden” job market.

The “Hidden” Job Market

The most effective way to find out the nitty gritty details and tap into these unadvertised opportunities is through strategic networking and informational interviews.

The goal of the informational interview is to grow your contact list, ask questions and gather data. At this stage, you’re not asking for a job, you simply want to learn more about the person, organization and industry.

How do job seekers approach businesses and what questions can they ask? It can be intimidating to set up and conduct an informational interview, but it doesn’t have to be. For those interested in group accountability and support, I created a membership to meet this need and coach clients on how to reach out to potential employers and navigate these meetings successfully in a “Careers By Design’ Job Search Club”.

Be Proactive and Solution-Focused

After identifying your ideal job and conducting informational interviews, look objectively at where you want to work. Target those industries and specific companies that you see as a good fit.

Even if there aren’t current openings posted, ask if there are contract positions, or flexible, part-time, hybrid or online roles. You’ve probably noticed that remote work is becoming more common. According to Economist Report: Future Workforce by Upwork:

The number of remote workers in the next five years is expected to be nearly double what it was before COVID-19: By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be remote, an increase of 16.8 million people from pre-pandemic rates.

With companies having to adapt to remote workers, it’s advantageous for you as a job seeker to look for work keeping this trend in mind. The competition for remote jobs opens up the global market, so set yourself apart.

The “Freedoms” of Freelancing

When approaching employers, keep in mind that some organizations may be more open to hiring freelancers to fill gaps, creating opportunities for those who do not want traditional full-time in-office roles. Contract, consulting and freelance work is an excellent way for both parties to get to know each other and determine a mutually beneficial ‘fit’.

When a survey was done in 2021 of freelancers,  The State of Freelancing report found that:

  • “62% strongly agree that they love how, with freelancing, they can work whenever and wherever they want. Eight in ten (80%) agree that freelancing has allowed them to pursue their passion, and seven in ten (69%) agree that their mental wellbeing has improved since freelancing.”

Freelancing can be appealing. More and more clients are coming to me asking how they can find meaningful, yet flexible work so they can still focus on their families and live a life with more balance and integration. It can be done!

Craft your Own Job

Following up with your contacts is key. Keep the dialogue open and maintain that relationship. Once you have a good idea of what your needs are and what organizations are looking for, consider writing proposals rather than waiting for openings to be posted.

This active job search process does take time and work; however, in the end, it’s more likely to pay off and land you a position that’s tailored just for you, with little to no competition. At the very least, you’ve now expanded your contacts and more people know about your unique skills and experience.

Stay tuned for my next article expanding on effective job search tools and strategies, key skills and options for moms who want to stay at home with their families while working part-time. Happy job hunting!


Donna Laggui Crombie is a writer, mentor and coach. She is a Career Strategist, Life Coach and Consultant with INSPIRED WITH GRACE.  Donna encourages women to pursue an integrated life and career with intention and by design.

Drawing from her background in employment counselling and career advising, she has a heart for supporting fellow moms to; 

  • Find remote, flexible work that honours the priorities of motherhood
  • Discover their purpose and explore career options
  • Gain practical skills to succeed at work, home and all other areas of life
  • Navigate the ‘hidden’ job market to land a purposeful job and/or
  • Network with potential customers to grow a business

She also supports clients in the areas of wholeness and personal growth providing tools for women to increase confidence and self-awareness.

Donna is a proud mom of five and blessed to have two in her arms and three in heaven. She supports neurodiverse families, and also offers peer-support to infant loss families through Elizabeth Ministry. She is also facilitates the Inspired With Grace Careers Women’s Networking FB Group

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