How to Find Hidden Jobs

Hidden jobs can provide the best career opportunities, and business and industry directories can be a great research tool to help you to find unadvertised leads.

If you visit to your local employment resource center, business resource center or library and ask the staff there to show you the business directories, you'll find a variety of directories. Many communities publish general directories of local businesses, there are industrial directories, and directories of community and not for profit organizations, just to name a few.

You can use business directories to determine:

  • what businesses are in your local area
  • their contact information
  • the type of work they do
  • the number of employees
  • often you'll find a contact name
You can use that information to:
  • Set up informational interviews
  • Send out cold contact cover letters
  • Visit the companies' websites to search for local job opportunities
  • Make cold calls to search for hidden jobs and industry information

Be sure that the information you obtain from business directories is current.

Many printed directories also have online versions, and the online version of the directory is often more current simply because a website can be updated more easily and frequently than a printed book.

When you visit your local employment resource center, business resource center or library, ask the staff there whether the directories are available online. Staff at these places deal with this kind of information on a regular basis and should be able to direct you to business directory websites that you might not easily find on your own.

If you are sending out cold contact cover letters and resumes, do ensure that the contact name you have taken from the directory is correct. As people move into different positions, the contact information in the directories can become out of date. A simple call to the company can help you to get that information.

When you call, there's a good chance you'll get a receptionist rather than the hiring manager. Avoid saying something like, "I want to submit my resume, to whom should I address the cover letter?" That question is bound to elicit a response along the lines of, "We're not hiring." Instead, try something like, "I have some correspondence to send to the office manager (or whomever you'd like to receive the resume) and I wanted to confirm that Joe Somebody (whatever name is listed in the directory) is still the office manager there."

If that person is still the manager, you'll get your confirmation. If they're not, you'll very likely get the name of the new person. Since you have the name of the former manager, you'll appear to be someone on the inside and will likely get the information you are seeking.

Accessing the hidden job market can take a lot of detective work, and business directories can be great resources for researching potential hidden jobs. Use your community resources to find current local directories and you'll be on your way to finding potential employers in your area.

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