Tapping into the hidden job market

Group of Multiethnic Diverse Busy Business People

A common misunderstanding about looking for a new job is that all vacancies will be advertised or easily visible.

Unfortunately, this is not the case – advertised jobs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to looking for your next career. These unadvertised vacancies are commonly referred to as the ‘hidden job market’.

These are the vacancies that are not posted on job boards, company career sites, newspapers or anywhere else. These job vacancies are usually filled by word of mouth (referrals), headhunting or internal recruiting.

Tapping into these hidden job vacancies could give you a major boost when it comes to finding your next career. Investing time and effort in tracking down these hidden vacancies will almost certainly pay off because fewer people will be applying for them.

Here are some practical strategies for tapping into that hidden market

Be smarter with the way you network: ensure that your network is aware that you are actively searching for new opportunities. Make networking a habit, not just something you are doing to find a job, as any of these contacts may know about unadvertised vacancies that are available or about to become available. You should network at every available opportunity, such as Employment Fairs, courses, conferences, chance meetings etc.

Make sure when networking that you are not just taking what you want from your network; be prepared to give back to your contacts as well. For example, liking posts on social media and forwarding articles that may be useful, and of course thanking contacts that help you or offer advice. Networking is about building genuine relationships, not for asking favours.

When using professional networking sites, make sure your profile is recruiter friendly with strong professional headlines and use of keywords and phrases that illustrate your particular skills and experience. Ensure you have a well-written profile that is updated regularly.

Research shows that many companies are now using social media as a key part of their recruitment strategy.

Industry Related Groups
Join professional organisations in the areas of industry that you are trying to gain access to. This has a number of advantages as you can showcase your knowledge and skills to other professionals who may be aware of positions that are available – or about to become available – in their industry.

Being a member of these groups can also give you access to insiders in the industry who may be able to offer useful advice and could even provide insight into alternative career paths that you may not have considered.

News Alerts
Stay on top of the news in your target industry, as this could lead to vital intelligence on positions that may become available. Watch out for market changes and keep abreast of the companies that are expanding, moving to bigger premises or winning contracts.

In most cases, it is very easy to set up alerts on professional sites to receive this news straight to your inbox. Google News Alerts is a useful tool to stay up-to-date with industry news – select your chosen subject areas and you will receive daily emails with the latest Google search results.

Direct Approaches
The direct approach means contacting companies directly to ask about opportunities with them. Direct approaches can be very daunting and you will undoubtedly get knocked back at some point – but don’t give up. Direct approaches are worth all the trouble if they secure you a job. Direct approaches can also demonstrate skills valued by employers such as initiative, enthusiasm and problem-solving skills. Research is key to identifying your target companies. Use the CTP Industry Sector Guides to find out more about the key companies in each sector, as well as the market trends and recent business news.

Even if they have no vacancies at present, the company may be willing to offer work experience, give advice about other opportunities in the industry, keep your CV on file until an opportunity becomes available or suggest another contact within the company who will be of more help. The most important thing about direct approaches is the more you do it, the more confident you will become and it will become another one of your job hunting skills.

As well as tapping into the hidden job market, you will still need to continue to apply for roles through your normal search methods. Be determined and the hidden job market might just produce the best job you’ve had: don’t just sit at home waiting for a response to an advert, take control of your job search and be proactive.

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