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The Hidden Job Market – Proactive Job Search

Category: Tips and Advice

The Hidden Job Market – Proactive Job Search Have you heard of the Hidden Job Market? There is a common misunderstanding about looking for a new job, and it’s that all vacancies will be advertised or are easily visible. Unfortunately this is not the case; advertised jobs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to looking for your next career. These unadvertised vacancies are commonly referred to as the ‘hidden job market’.

These are the vacancies that are not formally advertised on job boards, company career sites, newspapers or anywhere else. These job vacancies are usually filled by word of mouth (referrals), headhunting or internal recruiting.

Tapping into these hidden job vacancies could give you a major boost when it comes to finding your next role. Investing time and effort in tracking down these hidden vacancies will almost certainly pay off as fewer people will be applying for them.

Here are some practical strategies for tapping into that hidden market:


Be smarter with the way you network and connect with people with inside knowledge: 

  • Ensure that your network is aware that you’re actively searching for new opportunities.
  • Make networking a habit, not just something you’re doing to find a job, as any of these contacts may know about unadvertised vacancies that are available or are about to become available.
  • Make a point in staying in touch with former colleagues and add new connections.
  • Network at every available opportunity such as Employment Fairs, courses, conferences, chance meetings, LinkedIn or other professional groups.
  • A personal recommendation by a 'respected person' greatly increases your chances of getting a job interview.
  • When talking to your contacts, ask who they would recommend you should be talking to?
Make sure that when you’re networking, you’re not just taking what you want from your network. Be prepared to give back to your contacts as well – like and forward articles that may be useful and of course, thank contacts that help you or offer advice. Networking is about building genuine relationships and not for just asking for favours.

  • When using professional networking sites, make sure your profile is recruiter friendly with strong professional headlines.
  • Using key words and phrases that illustrate your own particular skills and experience.
  • Have a well written profile that is updated regularly, especially if anything changes.

Some recent research suggests that many companies are either using or are planning to use social media as a key part of their recruitment strategy.

Industry Related Groups

Join professional organisations in the areas or industry that you’re trying to gain access to. This has several advantages:

  • You can showcase your knowledge and skills to other professionals who may have knowledge of positions that are available in their industry or are about to become available.
  • Being members of these groups can also give you access to insiders in the industry who may be able to offer useful advice about alternative career paths that you may not even have considered?

News Alerts

Stay on top of the news in the industry you’re keen to secure a role in, as this can lead to vital intelligence on:
  • Positions that could become available.
  • Who is expanding, moving to bigger premises
  • Who has been winning contracts and will need more staff
  • In most cases it’s very easy to set up alerts on professional sites to receive this news straight to your inbox.
  • Sign up for the company newsletters.
  • Google News Alerts is another very useful tool to use and stay up to date with industry news. Just go to Google Alerts page, type in what industry, employers and area you want to hear about, then you will start to receive emails with the latest news that Google has found.

Direct Approaches

Direct approach means contacting companies directly to ask about opportunities with them. 

  • Direct approaches can be very daunting, and you will get knocked back but don’t give up.
  • Direct approaches can also demonstrate skills valued by employers such as initiative, enthusiasm and problem-solving skills.
  • Research is key to identifying your target companies.
  • Use the CTP Industry Sector Guides to find out more about some of the companies in each sector, as well as the market trends and recent business news.
  • Even if they have no vacancies, they may be willing to offer work experience.
  • Give advice about other companies that may be hiring
  • They can keep your CV on file until an opportunity becomes available, or suggest another contact within the company who will be of more help. 
The most important thing about direct approaches is the more you do it the more confident you will become, and it will become another one of your job-hunting skills.

As well as tapping into the hidden job market, you’ll still need to continue applying for roles through your normal search methods. Be determined and persevere.

Good luck!