By Jim Wong, CPA | June 18, 2013

The hidden job market has quickly become the ‘Holy Grail’ of the job hunt. Finding the right job requires more creativity, resourcefulness, and networking prowess than ever. The good news is, according to the experts, all those unadvertised jobs may be less elusive than you’ve been led to believe.

According to job search expert, Debra Feldman, the key is in your approach. “Traditional methods such as submitting credentials, relying on recruiter initiatives, and responding to an advertisement are less effective than cold calling, Web 2.0 tactics, and networking purposefully with influential contacts.” says Feldman.

In other words, you can’t wait for an accounting and financial recruiting agency to find you. Instead, while building your network, you have to be proactive, and put yourself in the best position to be found. Uncovering unadvertised job opportunities these days is less about conventional resume submission, and more about strategy and networking.

Feldman is not alone in her assertion. Even though they may not be using traditional means, “Managers are still looking for people and keeping track of the best talent,” explains Duncan Mathison, co-author of “Unlock the Hidden Job Market.”

That means ensuring you stand out in the current job market is more important than ever. It can result in uncovering otherwise hidden positions. According to his estimates, currently around 50 percent of positions are filled through non-traditional methods.

“Even when hiring is frozen; when jobs do open, companies already have a handy pool of candidates,” he advises.

What can you do to ensure you’re positioned to attract those undercover jobs? Let the experts guide you with three strategies to help reveal hidden job opportunities.

Ensure You’re Recruiter Ready
Lay the groundwork so your online presence is impeccable. For example, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, and clearly communicates the value you bring to the table. Reach out to contacts you’ve worked with in the past for recommendations to help beef up your profile.

Make sure to have your resume updated and ready to send at a moment’s notice.

“Convey your unique value and distinguish yourself from all the other candidates who have had similar career paths and job descriptions,” advises career coach, Arnie Fertig.

Make Your Presence Known
Don’t be afraid to initiate contact with hiring managers, accounting and finance leaders, or decision makers. Feldman asserts that while it is better to have a mutual connection introduce you if possible, do not let that hold you back if one doesn’t exist.

Reach out to key, relevant contacts within your network, and invite them to lunch or for coffee to take the relationship deeper. Lay the groundwork, and invest in your network before it’s needed.

Be Master of the ‘Follow Up’
Don’t let a connection go stale. Keep in touch on a regular basis, and be on the lookout for opportunities to continue the conversation. This will help you build trust, and it can establish you as a go-to source for information and ideas.

“Networking is all about being generous, not merely getting names to contact … The emphasis is on promoting a mutually beneficial relationship where each makes the effort to keep in touch and be helpful to the other,” advises Feldman.

So, when it comes to ‘cracking the code’ to unlock hidden accounting and finance jobs, some traditional methods, like a solid gameplan and some elbow grease, are still needed. Now, assess your current job search strategy, and use this expert advice to take your search to the next level.

This article originally appeared on Clear Focus Financial Search.

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