The hidden jobs market and how to access it

You might have heard about the hidden jobs market but what does that mean to you? Did you know that most jobs aren’t actually advertised? Instead, many are filled by organisations using internal advertising, social media and employee referrals. These are preferred by employers as they are usually very cost effective ways of recruiting. External advertising on job boards and using recruitment agencies are more expensive. So if you don’t access the hidden jobs market, you’re missing out on many opportunities.

 

So how can you access the hidden jobs market?

Of the recruitment methods highlighted above, there are two that you can use to access the hidden jobs market. Social media and networking. If you’ve ever been involved in any form of targeting in the Armed Forces, you’ll be surprised at how similar the activity is for job hunting.

 

Targeting

Search for companies you would like to work for rather than the vacancies themselves. You can start to filter based in industry, geography they operate in, size, values etc. Do your research, look on their websites and social media accounts. Follow employers across all social media channels and check their activity regularly. You need to be able to react as soon as you see an ideal vacancy. Expand your search out, use online company directories, search function on LinkedIn or trusty Google to find similar companies and perfect your approach.

 

Be proactive

Connect with key personnel in your target organisations (on LinkedIn/Twitter) and start networking with them. You can do this digitally through interacting on their posts. Use feedback from the replies you receive to fine tune your cold approach. As well as maybe seeing a position open up that might not be formally advertised, there are other benefits to this. Firstly, it means that you can be sure that the organisation does the sort of work you’re interested in and has a culture that matches your values and work ethic. Secondly, if you get invited for interview, you will already have a lot of company information to support your interview.

Once you’ve connected with people and started to build a relationship, you can ask for meetings with people in hiring roles or the job that you want to do. Many people are willing to spare 10-15 mins for a quick e-brew. Be confident, express your value and be prepared to ask questions of them rather than just sell yourself. You could ask them how they got into their career (if related to what you want to do) or how they got the job with the company. You can ask them what they enjoy the most and what they’ve learnt since joining.  Of course, some people may say no but then you’ve not lost anything.

Occasionally, employers will hire good candidates even if they have no vacancy at all because they can see the value. This is more common in the private sector admittedly. But you will have stood out due to being so proactive.

 

Network, network, network

Finally, there is a saying that your network is your net worth. We cannot emphasise enough the value of networking. As a term, it might seem alien. But with your frequent job posting changes, you have been networking for your entire military career. You’ve potentially had to change teams every 2-3 years, make new connections, build productive working relationships and maintain those over distance and time. These are exactly the same skills for networking in civvy street.

Whilst many ex-Forces see the year long notice period a downside, this is definitely an activity you can be doing before even making the 7 clicks to freedom. However, as with much job hunting advice, a few words of caution. This is a long game so don’t expect results overnight or a job offer after a first meeting. Doing only these steps won’t necessarily get you a job and we would always encourage you to combine these activities with active applications.