Find Jobs in the “Hidden Job Market” Using Your Direct Employer Cover Letter

This strategy involves identifying employers for whom you would like to work and contacting them – whether or not they have advertised job openings. When asking employers about possible jobs, nine times out of ten, you will hear a “NO.” “No, we don’t have any openings.” No, we aren’t anticipating any openings in the near future.” So why put yourself through this type of disappointment? Well, one time out of ten or one time out of fifteen, you will probably hear a YES! And even if you don’t, the employers will become a part of your network and, as you will see below, can provide valuable information for your job search.

The strategy of finding jobs in the “hidden” job market stretches most people’s comfort zone. Job hunters rate this strategy as a 9 or 10 on a difficulty scale, with one being easy and ten being the most difficult. The good news is, like any new skill, you can learn to do this, and the more you do it, the more natural it will feel. Also, remember that very few job hunters use this powerful technique, and thus, you will find jobs that others do not. You will also impress employers with your resourcefulness.

Here are the key steps for finding jobs in the “hidden” job market:

Step 1: Identify the geographic area where you would be willing to commute. This may not apply if you are seeking remote or work-at-home openings.

Step 2: Decide on the category of employers for which you would like to work. (Examples of types of companies: hospitals, churches, home improvement stores, import/export companies, bookstores, engineering firms, home decorating stores, motorcycle repair shops, city government agencies, adoption agencies, etc.)

Step 3: Find specific companies within your chosen category or categories. Here is a list of great resources for finding organizations.

Step 4: Find out the name and title of the person who would have hiring authority for the position you are targeting. (For example, if you wanted to work in fundraising for a nonprofit, you would need the name and job title of the person who managed that department.) There are several ways you can get this information:

(1) Your personal contacts might be helpful. For example, your friend George works for a nonprofit organization. You might ask him, “George, who oversees the fundraising department? What is his/her title?”

(2) You can call the company directly: “Hello. Could you please tell me the name of the person who manages your fundraising department?”

(3) You can visit the company and ask for the information.

(4) You can research to see if the person’s name is on LinkedIn, published in company literature online, in directories of professional associations, or on the company’s website. (Do call to verify that the information is still correct.)

Here are examples of hiring managers:

IT Professionals: Hiring managers in the IT field may include the Director of IT, VP of Technology, and Managers of Specific IT Divisions.

Sales: Hiring managers in sales may include the Regional Sales Manager, National Sales Manager, District Sales Manager, and VP of Sales and Marketing.

Science Jobs: Hiring managers in scientific roles could be the Principal Investigator, Division Manager, and VP of R and D (Research and Development).

Accounting Roles: Hiring managers in accounting may include the Accounting Manager, Director of Accounting, and potentially the CFO (Chief Financial Officer).

Engineering Careers: Engineering hiring managers could include the Division Manager, Director of Engineering, and VP of R and D.

Customer Service: Hiring managers in customer service may include the Customer Service Supervisor and the VP of Sales and Marketing.

Administrative Support: Hiring managers in administrative support could be CXO roles such as CEO, CFO, CTO, and CIC. Vice Presidents (VPs) and Directors or Managers may also oversee administrative functions.

Marketing: Marketing hiring managers may include the Senior Product Manager, Director of Marketing, and vice president of Marketing.

Church Staff: Lead Pastor, Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, Church Administrator, Board of Elders

Ministry Staff: Director, Manager, President, Human Resources Manager

Step 5: Record your contact information on your computer (in a contact database, for example) or in another format like Excel. You can also organize your job search through online software like Being organized is one of the keys to conducting an effective job search!

Step 6: Send a direct employer contact cover letter and your resume to that person.

Step 7: Follow up with a phone call to the employer. Here’s how to follow up and what to say.


Although you will hear lots of “nos” when using this strategy, every “no” is getting you closer to hearing a “yes.”