Okay, so the first part of this blog post title doesn’t exactly have a direct link to what I’m about to talk about, but hey, that is one creepy film with a very good title worthy of a blog post!
But horror film endorsements aside (disclaimer: I don’t actually like horror films, in fact I could just about get through half an episode of the X-Files without wimping out totally), there is another layer to the job hunting process that surprisingly, a lot of jobseekers have yet to catch on to. This layer is called the hidden (or invisible) job market and it’s what lies beneath the surface of advertised jobs.
The hidden job market is very real – in fact, I have firsthand experience of this as this route is how I came to be in the new role I spoke about in my last post.
Statistics have it that as much as 60% of jobs (some calculate much more) are never actually advertised. Couple that with the fact that the few jobs that do make it to the newspaper pages and online job sites attract so much competition that even the best candidate would really struggle to shine, and you can see why it is necessary to go “underground” in your job search.
So what is the hidden job market and why the big mystery?
Put very simply, the hidden job market is made up of the jobs you don’t see but are there all the same. These are jobs held by recruitment agencies, jobs that are filled in-house, jobs delegated to headhunters, jobs obtained over cups of coffees or pints of beer, and jobs that weren’t there before but suddenly appear following the right speculative application.
There are many reasons for the existence of the hidden job market – some of these (as listed in the highly recommended book, Successful Job Hunting in a Week), include:
- the high cost of advertising with no guarantees of success for the employer;
- the lack of resources and expertise to handle responses to the adverts (this can be overwhelming as in the case of the business owner who found himself faced with 400 applications for one secretarial position in his small firm!);
- employers in a hurry to fill posts quicker than the lengthy process of advertising and shortlisting candidates.
Small and medium-sized businesses in particular tend to shun the visible job market the most due to limited recruitment budgets, but even big players too can benefit from saving a penny or two from bypassing the traditional recruitment process so if you haven’t already tapped into the hidden market in your job search, here are five ways to get started.
Five ways to tap into the hidden job market
1) Mine your existing contacts
Job hunting is hard work but you can make it a little bit easier by getting other people involved. Mine your contacts – tell your friends, family, neighbours, ex-colleagues etc that you’re looking for a job and ask if they know of any openings in their work place or anywhere else. Even if this doesn’t yield immediate results, the fact that you’ve told people what you’re looking for (the more specific you are, the better) means that you now have extra pairs of eyes and ears open and switched on to find that right job for you.
2) Network to build new contacts
Build relationships with new people by networking online or, better still, face-to-face at events (more on networking here). The more people you have in your network, the better your chances of succeeding in the hidden job market.
3) Make yourself available online
If you haven’t already set yourself up with a professional LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profile, now’s the time to do so! By making yourself available online, you open the door for recruiters and headhunters to approach you directly. You can further enhance this prospect by joining relevant groups for your industry on LinkedIn and following relevant people and conversations on Twitter. Be careful not to “hard sell” though as this can be very off-putting!
4) Apply speculatively
Make a list of companies you want to work for, drilling it right down to the specific department if it’s a large organisation. Do your research to find out the relevant person responsible for recruitment in your chosen area and send in a well-written CV and cover letter explaining why you’re interested in working for the organisation and, most importantly, what you have to offer. Make sure you get a specific name and a contact number so you can follow up your email or letter afterwards.
5) Join a recruitment agency
As I explained in my last post, recruitment agencies are your friend so take advantage of the helping hand they offer to help you tap into the hidden job market.
So there you have it – what lies beneath the visible job market really isn’t that scary after all, is it?
Want to stay up to date with Mildred’s blog posts? Subscribe here:
- 10 key job hunting lessons I’ve learnt from going back to work (mildredtalabi.com)
- BOOK REVIEW: Successful Job Hunting in a Week (mildredtalabi.com)
- Get A Job Using The Hidden Job Market (Forbes.com)