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Network Your Way into the Hidden Job Market


Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions ( has helped thousands of nursing students review for the NCLEX RX exam. Now we are going to help students after they’ve reviewed for the NCLEX RX exam. In this article, nursing students will learn how to tap-into the hidden job market.
You never know where your next job will come from, so be on the lookout for it even when you already have a good job. The key to make this premise work is to recognize that people you meet in both your personal life and professional life may help you get a job someday. The trick is to keep track of these people and know how and when to tap into them. This is the essence of networking, and Nursing Matters has some suggestions to help you harness it.
To get you in the right mindset, consider the story about the young woman who sat next to a stranger on a train. After chatting for an hour, she not only made a good impression, she secured a job interview for a non-advertised position. This is an example of networking into the “hidden” job market and it’s a key way people find jobs. According to Gerrie Betka, Assistant Director of Drexel University’s Steinbright Career Development Center, in any given month, the number of positions that are not advertised or posted is significant – perhaps as high as 40 to 50 percent. So, if you’re not tapping into this hidden market, you’re missing a huge opportunity.
Also, keep in mind that even when a recruiter does advertise a job, the process of placing the ad can take several days before it actually hits in a publication. If you have knowledge of the job prior to the posting, you can tap into the hidden job market and get your résumé in early.
“Recruiters also place a great deal of weight on candidate referrals from colleagues and associates they know and trust,” said Betka. This is more incentive to reach out to your network of contacts as you conduct your job search. If you find someone who knows of an opening, ask him or her to place your résumé in the hands of the right person or, better yet, put in a good word for you.
Betka suggests taking these steps to build your personal network:
Write down the names of all the people you know. Previous bosses, colleagues, people met at conferences, relatives and friends.
Tell each and every one that you are searching for a new job and in what area. Get them to take an interest by asking for their suggestions.
Ask each if they can suggest someone who might know of an opening. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive here. Try to get them to give you a name and contact info.
Offer to send your résumé to each and every one even if there is no obvious job – sometimes this comes later.
Keep track of your list and try to keep adding names to it. A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is a good electronic tool for this.
After you get a new name, use your previous contact as an entrée to the new one. Repeat the process and keep adding names until you get a job lead.
There are other ways to grow your network. Consider attending a career fair dedicated to nursing. Cull hospital newsletters for fairs. Advance for Nurses ( often sponsors or posts job fairs and can be a great source. Drexel sponsors “Networking Nights” throughout the school year where you can mix with potential employers in a comfortable, low-pressure atmosphere. Like the woman on the train, this approach allows you to connect to a real person, face-to-face.
You also should try to post your résumé on job boards like or at hospitals where you’d like to work. Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of your school’s career services department. They often have fresh job listings and contacts that can help build your networking list. Again, remember, you never know where your next job is going to come from… so keep yourself open.

For more information on reviewing for the NCLEX RX exam, please visit


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