Only applying for advertised jobs? Did you know that your chances of securing a job could be greatly increased if you add some other methods to your job search? The Hidden Job Market reportedly accounts for between 60-80 per cent of actual job opportunities available at any given time – if you’re only looking at advertised jobs, you could be looking at just 20-40 per cent of what’s really out there!
So what is the Hidden Job Market? And how do you access it? Wherever you go, be alert to meeting people and introducing yourself as someone seeking employment in your field. Actively engage in conversations with those you come in contact with on a day-to-day basis, and check out social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedln, or ZoomInfo for the current word on new developments and employment opportunities.
Joining professional associations (e.g. a law society or local chamber of commerce), is a good way to network and talk about the inside story in your field. Student memberships are often available at a discounted rate, and attendance at association or industry events, conferences and seminars provides great opportunities to meet people in your intended industry.
Don’t forget about people you already know who may be able to assist. Family members, friends, lecturers, tutors, and colleagues or supervisors at current or past workplaces, can all be useful to chat to about your strengths, employment goals and strategies. Each of these people may know others whom you could contact regarding informational interviewing, work shadowing or work experience.
Voluntary work experience is a great way to get your foot in the door and to display your skills and enthusiasm. If you cannot find work experience through people you already know, approach organisations with whom you are interested in working. Learn as much as you can about the organisation before you approach it, so you can show genuine interest in its current projects and values. Talk about the skills and knowledge you have to offer and how you will benefit the organisation!
Work experience can also be a great chance to learn more about the different roles in your industry, and may help to identify where you want to work and the type of work you want to undertake.
In all the above cases, the following are essential:
- Be ready to introduce yourself and talk about your qualifications or current study, future aspirations, work experience and areas of interest. Have a short introductory spiel prepared.
- Don’t forget to listen to what the contact has to say, and ask about that person’s career and work – you may like to take some notes on key details to refresh your memory prior to your next contact with him or her.
- Have up-to-date copies of your résumé to provide if it seems appropriate at the time.
- A business card – a great way to remind people about meeting you. You can even make it yourself.
- Keep records of your contacts and keep in touch with them! Networking is as much about giving back to your contacts as it is about gaining from them.
By Catherine Garino, Career Resource Officer, Queensland University of Technology Careers and Employment.
Remember – people employ people!
It’s not just about what you know,
it’s not just about who you know,
it’s about what you know AND it’s about who you know.