Tips, Traps and Tactics for Job Seekers

By Marc Belaiche, CPA, CA & Joseph Thomas

There is a high probability that many job seekers have heard the following phrase at some point during their search: ‘90% of jobs are not advertised’. However, based on current trends and an article by The Wall Street Journal (January 9, 2013), this number is estimated to be closer to 50%. Still, this would mean that half of all available positions are not advertised anywhere. This article gives some tips on how to tap into the hidden job market.


One of the very best ways to tap into this hidden job market is to increase your network of contacts. Often, people will hear of new job opportunities from colleagues or friends, and refer someone they know. If you are a job seeker, listen for information about upcoming positions when meeting your friends, neighbours, family, or former colleagues. They may be able to point you to someone in your field or provide guidance.

Offer to help / give back

It’s good for your reputation to offer help to people that you know, as well as the new people you meet. Such selfless gestures will go a long way in strengthening your relationships. If you are looking for a new position, avoid the mistake of reaching out to your newly acquired contacts too quickly since it may be perceived negatively.

Thank contacts

The author G.B. Stern said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” In other words, it’s important to thank those who made an impact in our personal and professional lives. If it’s not possible to say it in person, then a phone call, card or an email can also convey your gratitude.

Keep in touch with your contacts

Building and maintaining great relationships is about keeping lines of communication open. Each of us needs to make the effort to connect with people every six months to a year. If you are just a name in their address book from years past, it wouldn’t occur to them to reach out to you regarding a new position.

Social media

Websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are great tools to help with tapping into the hidden job market. LinkedIn and Facebook especially allow you to connect with a vast number of individuals that both you and your contacts know. A popular trend is to set up groups, exchange job information and start discussions with other professionals. One key tip is to ensure that the information in your profile is consistent with your resume. Many companies today scan a job seeker’s online profile even before they contact the person for an interview.

Information interviews

A great tip for job seekers is to seek out as many informational interviews as possible. This is a helpful way to meet with professionals in their line of work and gives you the opportunity to ask for information or advice about getting into the field. It demonstrates to the interviewee that you are passionate about your line of work and eager to learn more.


Now that you are better versed with some of the tips, traps and tactics linked with the hidden job market, keep in mind that these points are meant to supplement your current search, not replace it. This helps to make up only one half of the job search equation. The other half includes recruiters, job posts, company websites, and job boards.


Marc Belaiche is a CPA, CA and is President of, an Internet recruitment business and recruiting firm located in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada. Marc has been in the recruitment industry since 1995. allows companies to post their positions online, search a resume database to find candidates, provides outplacement services and full temporary and permanent recruitment services. also allows candidates to search and apply to positions directly online and get career, interviewing and resume tips all at no charge. Marc is also President of, an organization geared towards business owners (see and has the annual Toronto Entrepreneurs Conference (see You can reach Marc at and check out at

Joseph Thomas is a HR/Recruitment Professional who works at, and can be reached at


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