Hidden job market

Many jobs are not advertised, so how can you tap into this hidden job market?

A row of people standing side by side with a lady holding a sign saying 'Hire me' As recruitment costs are so high, many companies try to minimise costs by filling roles without advertising, often turning to internal recruitment or word of mouth from employees.

It is reported that up to 70-80 per cent of jobs don’t get advertised, which is why it’s hugely important that you don’t overlook this hidden job market.

But how can you make sure you’re in the know about these unadvertised positions? It’s all about getting out there and making connections. Here’s some advice on uncovering a much wider range of job opportunities.


Through contacts you may be able to gather information that will enable you to make a professional approach to an employer so when you speak to people, make a record of who you have spoken to and the result of the conversation.

Networking with friends, family and contacts can be a good way of finding out about potential vacancies, but finding ways to meet and talk with people in your field is always a great way to make career in-roads.

Be sure to make the most of conferences, lectures and exhibitions by networking with your peers and expand your networking opportunities by becoming more active within an IET Local or Technical and Professional Network.

Gain experience

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.

These short-term roles will provide you with contacts within the company/sector and you may hear about permanent vacancies. It will also demonstrate your willingness to work.

The speculative approach

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 on a few potential companies as 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 online.

Got a lead? What next…

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 a 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.