“How to Get a Job When No One’s Hiring” is the topic of the article you’ll find when you click here. It is a very useful piece that everyone should read, because it will illuminate your job search even if you are finding desirable jobs posted on websites.

Key is the focus on you doing the legwork to identify companies for which you want to work. The adage “you won’t get anywhere unless you know where you’re headed” applies to job search as well as travel. Have a destination in mind and you can more easily map out how to get there.

Over the past week, several people have expressed fear that they are being too specific about their job goals. They worry about being locked out of potential jobs if they are too exclusive. I suggest that they will not hear about potential job unless they are more specific.

The “hidden job market” is one accessed by networking. It involves the jobs that are not posted on CareerBuilder or Monster or Indeed or Idealist. This market is one where people leave jobs and their position is refilled. These are not additional jobs or new headcount; these are mission-critical jobs that must be filled for the company to deliver its product or service. Often they are not posted publicly because the company does not want a deluge of resumes, or because they want to fill from within, or because they have a drawer of resumes already. Maybe the company works through a recruiter, who already has a stable of job seekers. For whatever reason, the only way you will find out about these jobs is by getting told of them by someone on the inside.

So how do you find someone on the inside? Well, the inside of what company? See, here’s where you have to decide where you want to work. Then you can find people inside – through colleagues, friends, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, JobAngels, recruiters – there are tons of ways to network into a place – once you know that’s where you want to be.

Identifying companies for which you want to work starts with your Must Have List – what you must have in order to do a great job, happily.

1. Work you will do. What do you love to do? What gives you great satisfaction? What do you want to do again? What industry or subject area do you love, care about? In what field does your expertise and talent lie?

2. Role you will play. What position will you have in the organization or company? Will you work for someone? For yourself? With others? Be a leader or a follower? Do you like working alone or in a team?

3. Impact of your efforts. What kind of impact do you want your work to have? Does it need to matter to anyone other than yourself? What kind of company or organization do you want to work for? Is there any purpose/cause that will make it worth doing drudge work?

4. Physical environment. What kind of physical environment do you need to be at your best and do your best work? Also consider desirable locations, commuting time, and hours.

5. Colleagues, culture, emotional environment. What kind of atmosphere helps you do your best? E.g. start-up or established company? Competitive or supportive culture, or a little of both? Structured or flexible? What kind of emotional environment do you want? What kind of people? Do your values need to mesh with the values of your workplace and colleagues?

6. Compensation. How much compensation do you need to reflect your value to your employer, or to quit a temporary or maintenance job to work full-time for yourself? What’s your “I can live with it” figure? Your “want to have” figure? Are there other ways you can be compensated, such as time off, benefits, recognition, or travel?

Now that you have answers to these questions, you can start searching for companies in your target fields. Your Must Have List is a checklist against which to evaluate companies. And when you network your way into those 10-20 target companies, you also have a great set of criteria for deciding if a job is a good match.

The Must Have List is your “job description” and the basis for you interviewing the employer. It’s the way to see if this is the “right fit” work for you.