Creative Job Search – Uncovering the Hidden Job Market

Guest post by career consultant Sinead English

Closing dates for many of the graduate training programmes have come… and gone. Your great intentions to apply to lots of companies got lost in a haze of assignments and exams. Now what?

Don’t despair – there are more opportunities than you think

Here’s a scoop – just because companies are not advertising doesn’t mean they are not hiring. Up to 70 per cent of available positions never get advertised since recommendations from trusted colleagues and contacts will usually uncover as many good candidates as a company will need… and it won’t cost them a cent in pricey agency fees or adverts.

The ‘Hidden’ Job Market? Give me a clue

The vacancies filled without advertising are often referred to as the Hidden Job Market – which can conjure up images of an impenetrable maze of people ‘in the know’ with you most definitely on the outside wondering how to get in! The good news is there is one step you can take today to start finding out what job opportunities exist for you on the Hidden Job Market. How? By starting to tell people what you want to do – if you can’t tell people where you want to go with your career, how can anyone help you get there?

How to hear about what’s going on in the Hidden Job Market

Find someone working in the industry you would like to work in and ask them for advice. Don’t know anyone working in the industry? Get creative. Use LinkedIn to search by industry, company, or your college. That will generate a list of names and LinkedIn will give you suggestions as to the best way to approach them, ie who you know that they know.

Target three people to start with – ask for 15 minutes of their time and be ready with your questions. Here are some to get you started:

  • ‘How did you get your job with the company?’
  • ‘Do you think my particular degree would be a useful qualification for a job in the industry?’
  • ‘Are there any good trade publications I should be reading/websites I should be following/industry conferences I should be attending to improve my knowledge of the industry?’
  • ‘What advice would you give a graduate trying to get into this industry?’

Never ask them for a job – ask them something they can deliver on there and then.

No guts… no glory

OF COURSE it is easier to keep sending CVs in response to job adverts, cross your fingers and hope that (a) no-one else spotted the job advert (b) all other applicants will have CVs riddled with spelling errors and lacking the required skills and/or (c) the advertised job isn’t actually already filled – a favourite tactic of some unscrupulous employers. OR you can go about creating your own opportunities and start to weave your way into the Hidden Job Market by letting contacts and, by extension, potential employers know you exist and what you can do for them.

The second option may appear daunting initially but the rewards in the form of you landing your ideal job will make this excursion out of your comfort zone well worth it. Go on – give it a go.

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