Finding work in the hidden job market

Have you heard of the hidden job market?

An estimated 80 per cent of jobs aren’t advertised, which begs the question – where are they and how do I get one?

In the burgeoning aged and child care industries, for example, you won’t find many jobs advertised because employees are required to have a Certificate III in their respective industries, and complete a certain amount of hours on work placement. As a consequence, there’s a lot of potential employees doing placements in the aged and child care sectors that will automatically get the job.

But that’s the bad news.

The good news is there’s plenty of scope to find out about these and other hidden jobs through the power of networking – both on and offline.

Networking is advantageous for all jobseekers, whether you are unemployed and looking for work or have a job but want to take the next step in your career. It’s a great way to meet key industry insiders, and find out about new opportunities through word-of-mouth and face-to-face contact.

Online, the best way to network is without a doubt through the business-focussed social network LinkedIn, so if you don’t have an account – get on it! LinkedIn is the biggest and best professional network to find a job, develop your career and connect with likeminded professionals in your area of expertise. Make sure your LinkedIn profile reads like a resume – keep it crisp, clean and concise.

For those of you who are already in the workforce, immerse yourself in your industry and take a genuine interest in what you’re doing. Further to that, actively attend professional development opportunities including events and after-hours functions. Be confident but not pushy when approaching people you don’t know – the last thing you want them to think is that you’re trying to get something out of them.

As a final tip, we at the Institute of Careers recommend you become a collector of business cards. Get yourself a little black book and store every single business card in it – you never know when that contact will come in handy!


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How to get the job you want

Landing your dream job could be as easy as 1,2,3 – you just have to follow our simple three-step plan.

Step 1: Make a list of 10 organisations you want to work for. Remember to pick places that are close to home, or relatively easy to get to. The key is to choose organisations that you would genuinely love to work for. It’s not uncommon for employers to ask job candidates ‘how bad do you want it?’ By showing enthusiasm and passion, it will be a lot easier to convince the employer to hire you.

Step 2: Ring every organisation on your list and say you are writing a letter to the manager about potential positions within their organisation, and would like the manager’s full name. Then write a letter explaining why you have specific interest in working for their company. Don’t forget to outline how you have the ability to perform, and excel, in the role.

Step 3: Visit each business dressed in black pants and a smart shirt. Ask for the manager by name – you already know this from Step 2. Look the manager in the eye and explain why you have a specific interest in working for their company. Ask if you could possibly do a day’s work experience to prove you are more than capable of doing the job.

While the organisations you visit might not be hiring, you’ll still stand out from the pile of resumes when recruitment does occur because the employer knows who you are. Once you have done some work experience, you have your foot in the door and can leverage that into a job.

Case study:

A job-seeker named Paul had a career goal to work in the mines. Until he got his wish, he was applying for jobs in warehousing and would apply for at least five jobs a day – but to no avail. What was the problem?

Paul’s resume and cover letter literally said: “I’m looking for warehousing work while I pursue my goal to work in the mines.”

This is a big problem – any employer will look at the opening line, the most important line in any resume, and will immediately know the applicant doesn’t actually want to work for them.

After following our three-step strategy for building a career, Paul ended up finding a job in less than two weeks. Where was the job? In a warehouse, not the mines. Nevertheless, Paul is now a closer to building his career, and can now use the same strategy to pursue work in the mines.

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Visiting potential employers unannounced

The main reason job-seekers should consider visiting potential employers unannounced isn’t to score a job immediately – it’s about establishing a rapport, showing your tenacity and getting your foot in the door.

When speaking with someone face-to-face, keep in mind you are dealing with a human being, and human beings usually share the following traits:

• They will be probably be more afraid of you than you are of them. This is why they sometimes try to bluff you away with nastiness – don’t be afraid!

• They will only deal with someone they like and trust. If you are open, honest and tell them your strengths and weaknesses from the outset they will trust you more.

• They will always avoid making a decision if you let them, therefore you need to ask them to make the decision.

• Their number one priority is always themselves. Being charitable is nice, but noone will hire you because you have no money and need a job. You need to explain what value you will specifically bring to their business.

• They will only take action to avoid a pain or make a gain. This means you need to stimulate two emotions – greed and fear of loss. If you tell your potential employer you’d love to spend one day per week on work experience with their company, they will be gaining an extra employee for free and might not have to sift through dozens of resumes when the time comes to making a new appointment. If you tell the potential employer that you are a serious contender for other jobs but would still love the opportunity to work for their organisation, or at least do work experience, they might be more inclined to say yes if they fear they could lose out to the competition.

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