Working Transitions

Step 3 – Networking and the hidden job market - ready for a career change? 4 steps to finding a job you love...

We spend around a third of our lives at work – therefore ensuring that our chosen career is both rewarding and fulfilling is vital.  Some people know exactly what their vocation is – regardless of whether they have yet to fulfil it.  For others, a niggling doubt exists that their current role is not what they want to be doing – but they struggle to figure out exactly what it is that they want to do. 

January is an ideal time to make a career change.  Feeling refreshed and invigorated after the holidays can help you make difficult decisions and drive your new job campaign.  The ‘fresh start effect’ is not just true for individuals - many organisations have recruitment budgets that come into play in January and key decisions around recruitment that have been put on hold during the Christmas lull are revisited resulting in an increase in vacancies.  For those looking to make a complete U-Turn, it is also a good time to start looking at options for studying – many colleges and learning centres offer a refreshed list of courses and open days for the New Year.

Throughout early January we have explored how to understand your strengths to determine your next career move and how to create a really impactful CV.  This week we examine the hidden job market and the power of networking.

STEP 3 – Networking and the hidden job market

More than 80% of job vacancies are filled without being advertised.  That’s a staggering figure!  Our own statistics from 2016 show that 56% of clients landed their new post by networking – compare this to just 21% who found their role via a job posting and you really can’t ignore the obvious benefits of networking!

The hidden job market consists of millions of openings that never formally get posted.  Many employers, given the choice, choose to fill positions without advertising for them – it saves both money and time. Hiring Managers often feel that the best candidates are people who already work for the organisation or referrals from their trusted employees.

How can you find out about these roles?  It’s all about increasing your network and leveraging your connections.

Smart Networking - Networking means using all of your known contacts – both existing and new - to provide information to enable you to identify ‘hidden jobs’ at your target companies.   

Ensure you are connected with everyone you know – colleagues, former colleagues, friends and industry contacts that you have met at events.  It might help to brainstorm – make a list of everyone you know – regardless of how little or well you know them – and make sure you connect with them.   A spidergram can be a useful way to record your contacts.

Once you’re well connected, follow these golden rules:

  • Make networking a habit – not something you only do when you need a job.  By regularly keeping up to date with former colleagues and contacts on LinkedIn you’ll increase your chances of hearing about new opportunities as they arise
  • Networking is a two-way street so ensure you give as well as take.  Forward articles that may be of interest to contacts and pass on job leads that you’ve heard about that may be suitable for them.  Networking is all about building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships.
  • When you’re talking to contacts who might be valuable to your job search make them aware that you’re open to new opportunities.  Explain the kind of position that you are looking for and the employers, industries or fields that interest you.

Contact employers directly - Never be afraid to make contact with an employer – even if they are not advertising a suitable vacancy.  Many managers are always open to meeting with professionals who can add value to their organisation – even if the meeting is purely speculative you never know where it may lead. 

E-mail or call to introduce yourself – explain a little about your background and experience and how you can add value to the organisation.  Send a copy of your CV and a covering letter explaining your interest in and enthusiasm for the organisation.  Even if there is nothing currently suitable, if you are a good match for the organisation you may well be first in line for interview should the right vacancy arise!

Keep an eye out for next weeks article – how to perform at interview.


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Working Transitions
19 January 2017
Supporting effective and successful organisational change


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