5 ways to tap the hidden job market

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 job’ market and it is very real.

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, pints of beers, or rounds of golf, and jobs that weren’t there before but suddenly appear following the right speculative application.

Statistics have it that as much as 60% of vacancies are never actually advertised before they are filled. With its low cost benefits and potentially high returns in finding the right candidate, it’s no wonder many employers look favourably on this method of recruitment.

So if you’re currently looking for your next role and you haven’t yet tapped into the hidden market, here are five ways you can get started:

  1. Mine your existing contacts

Tell your friends, family, neighbours, ex-colleagues and any and everyone you know 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.

  1. Network to build new contacts

Build relationships with new people by networking online or face-to-face at events. The more people you have in your network, the better your chances of succeeding in the hidden job market.

  1. Make yourself available online

If you haven’t already set yourself up with a professional LinkedIn profile, now’s the time to do so! By making yourself available on the right social media platforms, you open the door for recruiters and headhunters to approach you directly, as well as extending your network of potential “job-spotters”.

  1. Apply speculatively

 Make a list of the companies you want to work for, drilling it right down to the specific department, if it’s a large organisation. Research to find the relevant person responsible for recruitment in your chosen area and send in a well-written CV and cover letter explaining why you would like to work for the organisation, what you have to offer and how it could be of benefit to the company. You don’t necessarily have to ask for a job at this stage, but a simple conversation or a meeting – which is more likely to be granted by a busy employer and takes you a step closer to achieving your job goal.

  1. Join a recruitment agency

Recruitment agencies can be extremely valuable to you in your job search if you join the right agency (or agencies – there’s nothing stopping you from being part of a handful). They can provide insight into jobs within the hidden market, give you CV and interview advice in relation to your desired job roles, and act as an advocate for you for jobs where you’re a good match as a candidate.

The key to excelling in the hidden job market is in diversifying your methods as much as possible. The more of these methods of tapping the hidden job market you apply in your job search, the more likely you are to outsmart the competition and land the job you want!


About the author

Mildred Talabi is an award-winning UK-based careers blogger, speaker and writer, with over nine years of experience in the careers industry.

Mildred trained as a journalist and worked for various publications as a writer and editor, including The Guardian newspaper, before “accidentally” embarking on the careers advice field.

Named as one of The Guardian’s ‘Top Career Tweeters’ of 2014, Mildred has authored two career books – ‘7 Keys to a Winning CV’ and ‘The Science of Successful Job Hunting’ – and regularly helps mid to senior level professionals change jobs or careers through her CV Makeover Expert business.

In addition, Mildred manages the youth employment programme at Salmon Youth Centre, one of the largest youth centres in the UK, on a part-time basis, and hosts a weekly podcast show, “The Science of Successful Job Hunting”, which you can subscribe to for free on iTunes. For booking enquiries and more information, visit www.mildredtalabi.com.