Finding unadvertised jobs
Tips to help you break into the invisible job market, and discover job opportunities that are not actively advertised.
It is estimated that more than half of all jobs are never advertised anywhere. That's the "invisible job market". When jobs aren't advertised, employers have fewer applicants to choose from, so you have a better chance of winning that job. The big challenge is, how do you find these invisible job opportunities?
First of all, you need to make yourself a good candidate. Use our resources to polish your CV and make sure you are clear about your skills, interests and career ambitions.
Then, to find the invisible jobs, you need to research companies and industries, network and make contacts, and conduct informational interviews.
Research companies and industries
If you know what kind of work and companies you’d like to work for, do some research. Read their websites, look for them them in the news, read their media releases and annual reports. Find out who are their competitors, customers and suppliers. Then figure out if you know anyone who works in those companies and ask for an introduction to meet them. Tell them how keen you are to work there.
If you can't find a way to meet anyone who works at a company you're interested in, send them a CV and letter. Enquire about possible work now or in the future, regardless of whether they have a vacancy. Make a follow-up telephone call to the person and ask if you can meet for advice on how to find a job in their company or industry.
Networking is about asking for advice and information and is an effective way of getting help and support. The contacts you make and advice you receive can help you make good career decisions and find job opportunities.
Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work and ask if they know anyone you can talk to who might have information on careers and/or jobs in your field of interest. Don't ask them to give you a job.
Do you know anyone who graduated a few years ago? Older brothers or sisters or cousins? Friends or acquaintances? What are they doing now? And how did they get there? You'll probably learn something useful from them to help you find a good first job after University.
Also, if you've got some ideas about what kind of work you'd like, do you know anyone who's working in that field? Even if they're not doing exactly the kind of work you'd like, or working for exactly the kind of company you'd like to work for, they may have some great advice about how people get the kind of jobs you want and what might suit you.
- If you contact people and ask them if they can help you find a job and they're not in a position to recruit you, it can make them feel uncomfortable.
- If you ask for a short meeting to get their advice on how you can learn more about their job, industry or career development, you are more likely to get a constructive response.
Set up an informational interview
An "informational interview" is a meeting in which you ask for career and industry advice rather than asking for a job. Use these meetings to get information, find job leads and expand your network.
- When you meet with someone through your networking, treat it as a job interview – only one where you ask more of the questions.
- Prepare accordingly – there's lots of online advice to help you plan and prepare what questions you want to ask about their work and career, how they got into the company/field, and what advice they can give you.
- And of course, dress smartly, arrive on time and thank them for their advice and help – you want everyone you meet during your job search to have a good impression of you so they will recommend you to other people.
Attend our 'Job search strategies' and 'Networking strategies' workshops
For further information register and attend both the 'Job search strategies' and the 'Networking strategies' workshops. You can view workshops and registration details on our Book a workshop page.
For more information about how to navigate the invisible job market, check out some of these websites:
Yale University: Networking
Yale University: Informational interviewing
UC Berkeley Career Centre: Informational Interviewing
Prospects (the UK's official graduate careers website): How to find a job