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Guest Post: Finding the REAL Job Market (part 1) with Richard Phillips, Advantage Career Solutions

Thanks to Richard Phillips, Advantage Career Solutions for writing a guest blog post this week!  Check back for Part 2 of his article on Wednesday.

Finding the REAL Job Market (part 1)

Someone once asked me what I considered to be the number one myth that job hunters believe to be true, but isn’t.  My reply was “They believe there is a job market.”

A market is a place where sellers and buyers can meet to exchange one thing of value for another.  As Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? pointed out over twenty years ago, the “job market” is largely an idea and not something that actually exists.  Certainly, if other markets were organized (or disorganized) the way the job market is, none of us would be able to find food, clothing, or any of the other basics of life.  If you consider work to be one of the basics of life, then it is no surprise that work can often be so hard to find.

There are approximately 15 million employers in the United States and in total, these organizations provide millions of jobs.  Obviously, there is no place where all of the jobs available from these 15 million organizations are listed.  And even if there was a job “market” available, employers might not use it unless compelled by government regulations.  Even then, they would probably find a way around the regulations.

Why? Because when employers announce that they want to hire a worker, through a listing on a job board, for example, they risk being flooded with resumes, many of which,  if not all, are from unqualified applicants.  Sorting through this mass of resumes takes time away from other tasks which are probably in need of urgent attention because the enterprise is understaffed, hence the need to hire.  It is a vicious circle and employers do what they can to avoid it, particularly during recessionary times when there are many people looking for work.

Estimates vary, but a safe guess is that only 20% of all available jobs are advertised visibly in some form such as online postings or classified print advertising. The career literature often labels this 20% the “visible” job market.  This leaves 80% of jobs that are not advertised or are advertised in limited ways that require special access.  Examples of limited access include the company’s internal job postings, subscription job sites and professional association job boards.  This 80% is often labeled the “hidden” job market.  But the very fact that it is hidden makes it not function very effectively as a market.

Fortunately, it is possible to find and access that 80% of jobs that are hidden.

Check back on Wednesday to read Part 2 of “Finding the REAL Job Market” by Richard PhillipsAdvantage Career Solutions!

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