Only 20% of available jobs are posted on job boards at any one time according to the Wall Street Journal. In an article headed 'Scoring Unlisted Jobs,' The Journal explains that the other 80% are never advertised.

Job boards are irresistible because they seemingly put everything within easy reach. Unfortunately, the majority of job hunters are competing for the same small pool of jobs and getting turned down.

More than 80% of job openings are actually unlisted, says Steven Rothberg, founder of job website CollegeRecruiter.com in Minneapolis. This can be a good opportunity for outside candidates with research and networking skills since most companies will try to promote from within or rely on employee referrals.

This article is a timely one for me as I'm in the middle of writing a book about tapping into the hidden job market. So many people make the mistake of thinking that if a job isn't posted online, it isn't vacant, when actually nothing could be further from the truth.

But why are the 80% not posted? There are lots of reasons.

 

Sometimes the HR department hasn't got round to posting the job yet. Sometimes the company is still discussing the salary or title. Sometimes the manager just learned of a resignation and hasn't yet informed anyone. Sometimes the company policy is to post internally before advertising outside. And sometimes, a manager is planning to fire an under-performer but just hasn't pulled the trigger yet.

There are probably a hundred other reasons, but you get the idea. The important point is this: most people are fighting over the 20% of jobs that are advertised, leaving a huge opportunity for you to tap into the other 80%.

So how do you access this hidden job market? I have lots of strategies I'll be covering in my book (out later this year), but The Journal suggests 3 great ones to start out with:

1) Look for signs - stay on top of industry trends and know who is expanding/relocating/shifting focus. (I also recommend staying on top of management changes as these almost always result in staff turnover).

2) Use your network to find contacts in your target companies.

3) Make it easy to find you using profiles on social media sites and niche industry job boards.

You can read the details here.

The bottom line is that by shifting your focus to the hidden job market, you can use your job search time far more productively than scouring those Internet job boards along with everyone one.