To find your perfect job, you may have to go undercover.
Career coach John Lees, author of How to Get a Job You’ll Love says: ‘Only about 20 to 30 per cent of jobs are filled by people applying for published vacancies.’ It sounds illogical – why would employers hide vacancies? However, there are good reasons.
Employers want to take as much risk as possible out of the recruitment process. Recruiting the wrong person can be a disaster for the organisation and can leave the problem of replacing the ‘wrong’ hire, which adds to their costs in terms of time and money.
As a result, employers prefer to hire someone they already know, or who is known to a trusted contact such as an existing employee, rather than throwing the job open to candidates unknown to them.
Consequently, restricting your job search to jobs boards means you could miss out on job opportunities.
Here’s how to go undercover and find your perfect job:
1. Approach companies that already know you. Perhaps you have worked there as a temp or contractor, or you may even be a former employee. If you performed well they could be delighted to have you back.
2. Use your personal network of friends, friends of friends and former colleagues. There may be suitable vacancies within the companies they work for. Companies are more likely to trust someone who comes with a personal recommendation from an existing employee. Some organisations even pay staff to suggest candidates for vacancies, so you could both benefit.
Offer to meet for a catch-up over coffee or a drink so it’s a social meeting rather than just a ‘transaction’. Baldly stating that you want their help finding a job tends to make people feel like just a tool in your job search toolbox, so instead ask for their advice about how to get into whatever role or sector you are targetting.
People love giving advice and in the process they may supply information that helps your job search. Even if they don’t, thank them and ask if they know someone else who might also give you some advice. Take details and then request a meeting with that person. Later, contact everyone you have met to let them know how their advice has helped you. Not only is it polite, but it pays to keep in touch in case they come across the ideal vacancy.
3. Get employers and recruiters to come to you. Build a profile page on LinkedIn and any other relevant sites with a summary of up-to-date skills, title and qualifications. Include contact details and opt to receive personal emails from recruiters.
Ensure you are linked to former employers and colleagues, and become a member of professional groups. Keep your name in front of people who could be the source of a job by starting or taking part in online discussions.
Seek out recruitment websites relevant to your sector and post your details on their CV databases.
4. Makespeculative applications, but do it wisely. Don’t spray your CV around thoughtlessly. Target organisations likely to have vacancies (those that have announced expansions or new contracts, for instance) and tailor your CV and covering letter (vital for on-spec applications) to the kind of job you want. Include information that shows that you have researched the company and that you care about what you are doing. Alternatively use networking to find someone in the company who can give you an introduction.
5. Use someone else’s network. Recruitment consultants don’t just deal with advertised vacancies – they have networks of contacts in organisations that may have hidden vacancies. Some employers trust their recruiters to the extent that they will always interview a candidate the recruiter suggests.
To hunt out the best jobs, you have to be tenacious and creative!