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The Underground Job Market: Are you standing in line for your ticket??

Finding a job is a FULL-TIME job. Lets face it: 90% of jobs come from what I like to call the “Underground Job Market.” It’s all about who you know (…and who they know!) You’ve always got to take an active approach to your job search, but unless you’ve got great connections and tangible leads on the “underground job market,” you’ve got to treat the search as seriously as you would your actual job. You must be willing to invest hours each day into finding the right job. Once you stop treating finding a job like an actual job, the likelihood of you finding the right position will only decrease. In addition to working hard at your job search, work SMART; only apply for jobs you’re actually qualified for and genuinely interested in, and foster every professional connection you make.

There’s no question that searching for a job is usually time-consuming, frustrating, disappointing, at often times feels like a lost cause. You’re probably saying to yourself, “It gets daunting! … I’m losing hope! … Investing this much time in finding a job is NOT working for me!” These are all logical and understandable thoughts to have, but the truth is that you never know what dead end job leads might open up in the future, WHO you’ll brush elbows with in your search, and which connections you make in your search might turn out to be your ticket to the perfect position on the Underground Job Market. Take a look back at all of your past positions … How many did you get because of who you knew in the company; because a friend told you to apply before the job was advertised; or because you put full effort into the search, which resulted in your “follow-up” or “preparedness” landing you the job?

I recently conducted a job fair for a very well-respected and highly sought after employer in the Gulf Coast. The job fair was conveniently located and all attendees were pre-confirmed and given a multitude of information regarding our company, the position, and the job fair itself.  Of over 10 scheduled interviewees, less than HALF showed up for their interview and didn’t bother to call, even though I made it very clear that I am happy to reschedule and accommodate their availability. Ad-VANCE takes pride in our diverse, successful, and highly-regarded client base.  Unfortunately for these applicants, they’ve now missed out on multiple immediate opportunities, as well as the plethora of future opportunities that I was prepared & excited to discuss with them! … The point of my story is this: You never know which connection in your job search could be your ticket to the right position OR your connection (be it secondary or tertiary) to the “Underground Job Market.”


  • Take you job search seriously.
  • Invest the time.
  • Network.
  • Foster your professional relationships
  • Return calls.
  • Don’t “no-call-no-show” to  pre-set appointments.
  • Follow-up with your most desirable employers!

Ad-VANCE Author: Erin Lee, PHR