Sunday, 17 April 2011

How to succeed in the hidden job market. New book tells you how

To Get A Job You'll Love
Author John Lees points out that although the hidden job market might be unfair, it is also very important. Vital, as he puts it. And he should know, he is a best selling careers author and career transition expert.

Many people who lost their jobs this year – especially those in the public sector - are turning their backs on new opportunities because of the way they feel about the “hidden” job market according to leading careers expert, John Lees, author of How to Get a Job You’ll Love (McGraw-Hill).

“It is a fact that the majority of jobs are not advertised,” says Lees. “If you only ever respond to job advertisements you’re seriously limiting the opportunities you could be pitching for. Most people don’t recognise that there is a hidden jobs market and those that do simply don’t know how to access it. The truth is there are more job vacancies than people realise. Job seekers must use lateral and creative thinking as a career management tool.”

Workers familiar with an equal opportunities environment often believe this approach to job seeking – via the hidden jobs market - is unfair. They object to what they see as ‘old school tie’ networking, believing that the only proper way to fill a role is through open, transparent advertised position, but this view fails to take account of several important factors:

• Even in a buoyant market most employers will fill jobs without advertising them. In a tough market, it’s even easier to do so.
• Even public sector employers fill jobs on this basis.
• In the new world of social media, connections matter more than tracking advertised roles.
• New and smaller organisations are more likely to fill jobs by word of mouth.

Lees adds, “The absence of advertised positions makes it easy to believe there are no jobs out there and bemoaning the state of the market is a great excuse for a low-octane job search, yet there are ways to crack this market with some proactivity and effort on the job seekers part.”


• Breaking into the hidden market isn’t about old school networks or favours, nor is it only open to those who are great at self-promotion. It’s about meeting new people, and making sure they remember just a few positive pieces of information about you and it is up to you what memorable trail you leave.

• The best definition of the hidden job market is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Make sure you leave every meeting, meet up, virtual or otherwise with a lasting positive first impression.

• Getting mentioned in a network isn’t a matter of chance. Tell people what you’re looking for and what you have to offer. Be brief, upbeat and very clear, and your message will get remembered. Keep it relevant and leave neediness and emotion at the door. You’re selling yourself.

• Remember that most brand new roles, particularly those in small employers, are difficult to find by any other method. Even in the public sector people are often ‘tipped off’ about positions well before they are advertised. The fact that people don’t generally know this doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

• Be open about what you are doing, but ask for help with research (into sectors and organisations) rather than asking for vacancies.

• Begin with contacts made in your last job, and anyone with professional experience in your circle of family and friends.

• Have a well written, current and relevant CV to hand in case you are asked for it, but otherwise don’t ask directly for CV advice or job leads – the indirect approach works better. Develop your confidence in this approach – practice.

• Find ways of reaching decision makers when they have may have a problem or an opportunity. Good research will help. Be on the ball. Go the extra mile in your research.

• Your last question when networking should always be to ask for recommendations of other people to talk to. People are generally happy to help when asked.

• Remember other spin-offs: word of mouth is the primary method that candidates get recommended to head-hunters and many employers.

• You can also ask for the names of recommended recruitment consultants.
Getting remembered isn’t a matter of chance – it’s about you planting an idea and impression in the right minds.

Stockist Info: How to Get a Job You’ll Love by John Lees, McGraw-Hill, £12.99.
ISBN:978 0077 129934

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