Ever sense that your LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor searches aren’t really revealing all of the professional opportunities that are out there?

Turns out, your spider sense is right!

Experts have estimated that anywhere between 40 and 80% of available roles at organizations and companies are not listed publicly.

There’s a name for this: The Hidden Job Market

Why might this be the case?

  • The position is still being defined. The company may be in the process of designing a brand new position, exploring a permanent versus temporary hire or trying to replace someone who was holding multiple roles simultaneously. Each of these scenarios can create challenges in defining a position to share publicly.
  • The business needs a contractor rather than a FTE. Companies are often hiring for short term (6-12 months) of project work that would not necessitate a longer term position.
  • The position is at a senior level. Companies and organizations may keep their searches off of job sites and hire recruiters who can vet potential hires in advance.
  • The organization is prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion. This may seem counterintuitive – since advertising more widely and inviting a broad range of applicants is also a strategy for achieving these goals. However, when a business or organization is prioritizing diversity and inclusion in hiring they may seek professional help in identifying and vetting candidates OR in developing a targeted search strategy.
  • It’s not technically “hidden” but you just aren’t looking in the right place. It’s a big, wide, world out there. So some jobs may be listed on sites you aren’t yet familiar with or being shared in networks you haven’t yet joined.

Reading through this list, are you beginning to see some opportunity for yourself?


  • You  are a unicorn. That is, you might be just the person to for that ill-defined position because you have a background in the exact combination of sills and experience that they have been working so hard to define.
  • You are a Swiss-army knife. You might be the kind of employee that can jump into a role that requires tremendous adaptation and a wide range of skills.
  • You are a contractor or freelancer. You happen to love shorter term projects and learning about multiple different organizations and companies. And you are willing to manage your own taxes and benefits for greater flexibility.
  • You are a senior leader or an emerging leader. Maybe you are already leading a program, department or an entire organization and you are ready for change.
  • You believe your intersecting identities and lived experiences are a gift and will make you a unique and valuable candidate for organizations that are committed to living into values around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
  • You have friends, family members, acquaintances colleagues in the field where you want to work. All of these individuals can shine a light on opportunities that feel hidden to you right now.

So what creates the bridge between these hidden opportunities and your incredible qualifications?

You guessed it: Networking

Networking is the #1 strategy for getting your story to the ears of people who searching for someone just like you.

But networking can feel so cringey. So sales-y. So artificial. So ughhhhh.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Great networking is authentic, mutually-beneficial and relaxed.

It’s when you are present enough to listen to others and confident enough to share your interests, talent and skills.

So…imagine feeling confident and excited about:

  • Reaching out a recruiter to learn more about a position of interest.
  • Asking a colleague to provide you a warm introduction or referral to someone you admire.
  • Having coffee with a person who’s deeply networked in a field of interest.
  • Attending a networking event where you don’t know anyone at all – and making some great new friends and contacts.
  • Sharing your LinkedIn profile or personal website- because you are honestly proud of yourself, your work and you are excited for your future.

Learn more about my Perfect Your Career Pitch 1:1 Coaching Session here.


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About the Author: Kate Cockrill

A little about me... I am a social scientist, facilitator, and professional coach. Through my business: Kate Cockrill Coaching, I support mission driven managers and directors with 1:1 career coaching, leadership coaching, team workshops, and retreat design. My clients include leaders in healthcare, education, research and social innovation.

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