Uncovering ‘The Hidden Job Market’

By Stephanie Gonzales

Most jobseekers turn to online job boards like Seek.com and Indeed.com as their primary job search strategy.  They might scan the job listings every few days, submit a handful of applications and cross their fingers for a phone call. Does this sound like you?

While some people may find work by solely relying on these websites, research suggests that up to 80% of available jobs are never advertised. This means that jobseekers using job boards as their main job search strategy are missing out on valuable opportunities. Effective jobseekers will use a combination of job search strategies to tap into ‘The Published Job Market’ and ’The Hidden Job Market’.

hidden job market

The Published Job Market

Job advertisements on Seek.com and Indeed.com represent only a fraction of The Published Job Market. It’s important to remember that the target markets for these job boards are the general public. This means that a large portion of the advertised positions cater to experienced hires or those seeking full-time work.

As a student, you may be more interested in finding internships or part-time work related to your degree. For this, we recommend adopting a targeted approach when using online job boards. Utilise student focussed job boards and publications like GradConnection and Graduate Opportunities. These websites advertise a wide range of internship and graduate programs. Don’t forget to regularly check job vacancies on the UTS CareerHub job board for entry-level roles and opportunities that may be flexible around your studies.

From accounting to journalism to environmental science – there are industry-specific job boards and professional association websites that may advertise opportunities in your desired field.  Speak to industry professionals, academics and UTS:Careers to find out the recommended job boards in your chosen field.

The Hidden Job Market

Most employers will agree that job boards are not the preferred way to source candidates for vacant positions. The time and money required to advertise, review applications and conduct interviews can be quite exhaustive. More importantly, employers like to hire people that they know, like and trust so they prefer to find candidates internally, through employee referrals or through word of mouth. These unadvertised positions represent ‘The Hidden Job Market’.

The key to uncovering The Hidden Job Market is proactive and targeted networking. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the companies you are targeting and to develop a compelling proposition as to why they should hire you. Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Approach target companies – Make a list of potential employers that you would love to work for and conduct research to understand their core business, company values, size, structure and future direction. Create tailored application documents that clearly target each company. Approach the organisations directly to express your interest in working with them; share your elevator pitch! Try calling the human resources or recruitment team to discuss vacancies and possible opportunities.

2. Develop your “elevator pitch” – Imagine you’re in the elevator with the CEO of your dream employer. You have 30 seconds to introduce yourself and explain why you would be a great hire for their company – what would you say? An elevator pitch is a short summary about your skills, interests and experience and is designed to help you communicate your personal brand in a concise way. Develop your unique value proposition so that you are prepared for networking opportunities with potential employers or business contacts. Check out this blog post for a few extra tips on how to formulate your own elevator pitch.

3. Build your professional network – Join professional and student associations in your chosen industry. These open up opportunities for networking though events and conferences, whilst allowing you to keep up to date with your industry. LinkedIn is also an excellent tool for professional networking as it allows you to connect with industry professionals and recruiters. You can also follow your target organisations and join industry discussion groups.

Ultimately, effective networking is about connecting with people who can help to develop your career prospects. In a job market where 50% of graduates secure roles outside of advertised positions, this really highlights the importance of tapping into The Hidden Job Market.

 

 

Stephanie Gonzales is a qualified career development practitioner and experienced recruitment professional. As a Careers Consultant at UTS:Careers, she provides careers education and guidance to students regarding career direction, application writing, job search strategies and professional development.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

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