19 Jun 2012

Guest post: The Hidden Job Market. Where is it and how can I find it?

Guest post by Sinead English (Sinead English & Associates)

You will have heard the statistics. Over 70% of available jobs never get advertised. Or if they are advertised you can’t help but get the feeling that there is a shortlist of favoured candidates already drawn up and you are not on it. The majority of employers prefer to hire someone they know and trust or someone who is recommended by someone they know and trust. How can you increase your chances of getting a job by getting into this so-called, Hidden Job Market?

1. Do you know what you want? Then tell everyone! Sounds obvious but if you can’t tell potential contacts what type of job you want to do then how can they help you get it? Be specific about the kind of job you are looking for when talking to friends, ex colleagues and acquaintances. They are out there operating in this Hidden Job Market and may hear of something that suits – if you are specific they will remember you, make the link, and are more likely to contact you about it. Stay away from using general lines like “I’ll do anything at this stage” – that will not focus the mind of whoever hears it and it won’t progress your job search.  

2. Step away from the computer. It’s good to talk. Many job seekers I know use their computer as their main tool for job search. Spending hours each day checking jobs websites and studiously adding connections on LinkedIn will probably not get you a job mostly because that is what everyone else if doing too and the competition is fierce! Try a different approach. Get out and meet people, get your message out there re what you want to do.  

3. Networking? No need to fear. It’s just chatting with people and letting them know what you want. Don’t ask your contacts outright for a job but ask them for advice, suggestions re what to be reading, good websites to follow. Ask if they can introduce you to anyone who may be able to help you. Ask what they would do if they were you….basically anything but “Do you have any jobs going at your company?” By doing this you are effectively showcasing yourself and subtly reminding them to think of you when they hear of opportunities arising in the non advertised Hidden Job Market.  

4. Don’t waste your time on Dear Sir/Madam letters Sending out a targeted speculative letter and CV to a company and addressing it to someone known to you or known to someone known to you (tenuous, but fine as long as you can mention their name in the letter!) is a good use of your time. Sending out speculative Dear Sir/Madam letters that clearly look like they are being sent to every company in the industry is a complete waste of time and a totally demoralising exercise. So don’t do it! Spend you time figuring out who you know who knows someone in that company – use LinkedIn for this – it’s a great way to find connections into employers through your own network. Stay positive, be brave, ask for advice and think differently when approaching potential employers. Standing out and getting noticed requires a different way of job hunting – go for it! Sinead English and Associates provide career management and job seeking advice.

Follow Sinead on @sineadenglish and read her blog on http://www.sineadenglishassociates.ie/


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