Many jobs are not advertised, so how can you tap in to the hidden job market?
The process for recruiting and selecting staff can be very expensive, so many companies try to minimise costs by using the hidden job market. If you rely on traditional methods of job searching, you may be limiting your options; so how do you tap in to the hidden job market?
If you know which job you want, but have not seen it advertised, you may consider taking a speculative approach by targeting companies you wish to work for or who you think may be recruiting. If you do take a speculative approach, you should focus your search to a few potential companies. An un-targeted approach may be costly, time consuming and may not yield many responses.
There are many ways to identify organisations; websites, trade journals and magazines, as well as local and national newspapers, can be valuable sources of information. They can provide details about companies that are expanding, re-locating or developing new products. You can also find details of organisations in business directories or by conducting research on the Internet.
Networking with friends, family and contacts can be a good way of finding out about potential vacancies. Through your contacts you may be able to gather the information that will enable you to make a professional approach to an employer.
When you speak to people, you should make a record of who you have spoken to and the result of the conversation. If you would like to expand your network, the IET offers a range of opportunities for you to do so. You can get involved with your Local Network, or attend courses and events. You can also get involved with the technical and professional networks (TPNs).
Once you know which organisations to contact, it is a good idea to telephone them first and talk to them. You will be able to introduce yourself, ask questions and gain a sense of where they may have opportunities that would suit your skills and experience. After speaking to the company, forward your CV and covering letter to the individual that heads the department you would like to work for. If you do not hear anything, follow up your application a week or so later and again after a suitable period.
When looking for vacancies, you could consider taking temporary contracts or a period of unpaid work as a stepping stone to the work you are looking for. Doing this will provide you with contacts and you may hear about permanent vacancies. It will also demonstrate your willingness to work.