If you see something good, apply. That’s career management 101.
But if you are really looking to make a change, you need to be way more proactive.
The hidden job market is not hidden because the recruitment process is secret. It is hidden because people get hired for roles that had not been created.
Say you have had three progressive roles where you fixed some important stuff. You have great stories to tell about big impact projects and corralling the experts and the dollars to get the projects to the finish line.
You were able to convince and cajole people to adopt the new way and now it is a standard practice.
This is a totally scalable achievement. You could be a coordinator or a vice president – it all counts.
If this is if the kind of challenge that gets you up and excited every day, then you need to find somewhere else to do it. It might be another department in your current organization or if that is tapped out, you might need to go somewhere else.
It is not too bold to email or leave a voice mail for a senior leader in a target company letting them know that you have fixed some pretty big stuff especially if you do some homework first.
Read industry news, blogs, association websites, regulatory websites, Glassdoor, anywhere you can find the things that are going wrong in companies. This is where opportunity lies.
A company that has just had a recall, for example, may not have had time to go through the process of posting a job. I would seem pretty likely that if a VP of Quality got a message from someone who had great industry cred dealing with similar challenges they would respond and it would be pretty quick.
This is where the really great career moves come from and to quote my colleague, Lisa Knight, you need to manage your career, not let it manage you.