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Expanding Your Job Market

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To a casual observer, the produce section of a supermarket might appear to have nothing in common with a clothing store. But be mindful of the question: What can you do with two banana skins? Use them as a pair of “slippers”! The answer may not be practical but it illustrates how viewing things a little differently can lead to unexpected results.


For example, technology changes at a fast pace. Electronic gadgets that weren’t even a gleam in the public’s eye just a few years ago are now mainstream hot sellers. And, for better or worse, we are all aware of the resulting synergy between manufacturers and advertisers. Similarly, job hunting techniques have evolved from exploring newspaper “want ads” to a business person approach where you view yourself as a business person with your knowledge, expertise and experience as your products. 

If you are having challenges obtaining a position because you can’t find openings matching what you do (i.e. the features of your product) you need to do what a business person would do – look for alternative markets. In the employer/employee space this means tapping the hidden job market. That is, employers have positions to fill, they just aren’t advertising or listing them; and you need to find out what they are.

You have heard experts tell you to “go out and network.” Most people take this to mean “go to network meetings.” Indeed, such events are great ways to meet people, making contacts with people who might be knowledgeable about a lead. However, as a business person you would not stop there. You would expand this “market” to be able to sell your product (which is yourself). Why restrict your contacts to people who attend meetings? You meet people every day and they are not hermits. If they were you wouldn’t be meeting them!

People know other people, who know other people, who know other people. It takes effort, but if you follow this path; one of these persons may know a customer for your product, that is, a hiring manager.

The key to tapping this expanded market is relationship building. How do you do that? It can be easy. You and I now have a relationship (writer/reader) and you didn’t have to do anything but read this article! Of course, from a business perspective, this is a passive relationship. We know that active relationships are the most productive. (“To expand this relationship, just contact me.”) In my next article I will discuss how even shy people can build strong relationships. Of course, you will be making our current relationship stronger by reading it!

About the Author
Jerry Clifford is a Project and Program Manager experienced with all aspects of software project development. As both employee and consultant he worked with some of the nation’s premier companies including AT&T, Cisco Systems, and Merck. He holds a graduate degree in mathematics, earned certifications in project management and information systems auditing (CISA) and was elected to two terms as President of the EDP Auditors Association, New Jersey Chapter. He is the published author of several technical and nontechnical books on topics ranging from computer math to car repair and carpentry.

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