How to Find Hidden Job Opportunities

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds

Many interesting and well-paying jobs are never advertised, filled through internal candidates, networking or people creating jobs for themselves. If you rely solely on classified ads and Internet job boards, you’ll miss opportunities to find positions for which you’re more than qualified. Getting yourself in front of the right people at the right time is the key to finding hidden job opportunities.

Look Internally

Before you begin looking for a job outside your company, look for opportunities where you currently work, including for jobs that don’t exist. Let management know you’re looking to move up or horizontally so you are on their radar when they have a position to fill. Depending on your skills, you might be able to suggest a position the company needs but hasn’t yet decided to fill. Write a job description for the new position and include a return on the company’s investment, either in terms of increased sales, decreased costs or improved productivity. For example, if the company is outsourcing its promotions activities and you have a marketing background, make a pitch to become the company’s promotions manager. Offer to handle one project as a test and outline what you would do for the company during the course of a year.

Suggest an External Job

If you’re familiar enough with another business that has a need that a new job can help satisfy, make a pitch to a business other than the one you work for. Many small businesses are understaffed simply because the owners are overwhelmed with work and/or don't have the expertise to know how to fill certain positions. Offer to meet with the owner, discuss his needs in a specific area and make a comprehensive pitch for a new position.


One of the keys to getting a hidden job is being on people’s radar before they have a job to fill. When an employee quits or is fired or a business decides to fill a new position, if they know someone who is right for the job, they often won’t go through a month-long job search. Attend industry mixers, take key people to lunch for informational interviews and let your business peers know you are looking. Get in front of headhunters who often use their networks, job postings in specialty publications or trade websites or LinkedIn to find candidates. Finding a headhunter can be a time-consuming process, so start looking before you’re out of work.

Get on LinkedIn

As of April 2013, more than 16,000 clients or recruiters were paying to use LinkedIn’s Recruiter feature, according to the website Wired. This feature allows companies and headhunters to find candidates for jobs without taking the shotgun approach of posting want ads. Without a LinkedIn profile, many recruiters will never know you are out there. Create a LinkedIn profile, add the keywords that will help recruiters find you, connect with targeted peers and keep your profile updated.

Go Nonprofit

Many nonprofits have human resources, marketing, sales, administration and finance jobs they post only on nonprofit job boards. Visit these boards, such as those at the websites of the American Society of Association Executives or Opportunity Knocks, to find hidden gems with less competition.

About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images