How to seek out jobs in the hidden market

Ines Gonzalez, Career Coach

Q: I have scoured the internet for a job. Anything I see, I’m onto it. However, I am not getting much feedback and am becoming frustrated. How can I be more effective in my search? (CP, email).

A: The keyword here is ‘effective’. Applying for online positions is just one way of using your time, and it is not always an effective way of finding a job, writes Ines Gonzalez, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

Also the lack of replies or feedback won’t do your self-esteem any good. You may start to believe that your CV isn’t presented well enough (and maybe it’s not) and that your experience is not good enough (and maybe it’s not if you are applying in unsuitable fields).

The problem of applying online is that your CV may get lost a database of a multinational or a recruitment company. It may be rejected on a whim, or by an applicant tracking system. Plus, everyone else is applying for those jobs too, so competition is at its peak here.

I introduce a concept most jobseekers have not considered: the hidden jobs market. This term describes jobs that are not advertised. It is estimated that unadvertised jobs amount to around 60-70 per cent of available opportunities

Many companies don’t advertise as it is expensive and time-consuming, and they prefer to get referrals from trusted contacts.

Networking is key

Networking is your secret weapon. You need to be proactive in talking about your skills and your career objectives. Think of people you know and start talking.

Use LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your sector and to ask for advice, not a job. For obvious reasons, people find it easier to give you advice than a job – yet their advice might lead to a job. Expand your network, and look after it.

You may think that networking is not for you, but it gets easier with practice. It is about making connections and offering value to others. It’s not about sending random emails in the blind hope of seeing what happens.

It requires research and planning. Questions that may help you as you plan your research include: what do I have in common with this person? How can I be of help? Do I have what they need?

Networking enhances your profile in your professional circles. This will enable you to discover job opportunities that others don’t know about. And if not full jobs, perhaps a few days or weeks of work to get your leg in a door.

Make a pitch

Another way to unlock new roles is to talk to companies and hiring managers about what you can do for them. This requires a proper ‘elevator pitch’, so get practising.

You’ll be surprised how many jobs live in people’s heads. Once, in a meeting with a recruiting manager, I asked: “how is your multilingual department?”

He replied: “we actually don’t have one but I know we should – would you be interested in the role?

The role didn’t even exist and I was offered the opportunity. That kind of thing can occur – but you’ve got to be out there to make it happen.

Adding these practices to your portfolio of job-seeking actions will increase your success rate. The visibility and credibility you create will help to bring the opportunities to you.

Ines Gonzalez is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers.

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