Using your network when searching for opportunities

‘About 70-80% of jobs are not published, and overall employers tend to hire trusted friends and acquaintances.

Kaufman, 2011

If you’ve been working on mapping your network and on exploring the resources for making networking easy and more approachable, you will have a better understanding of the benefits you will gain from practicing this as often as possible. Not only will you be more in tune with the labour market around you, but you will also feel more confident in your own skills and abilities. 

What is more, you can take your existing network one step further. Your personal and professional contacts can help you look for and find specific opportunities.

  • Start with your warm network and select only a handful of people that you know work in a specific field or have a good network themselves.
  • Remember to be clear with them about what you need and what type of advice or support you are looking for. Articulate precisely but concisely your goal, just as you do to create your own personal branding.

Now ask these contacts: 

  1. If they can put you in contact with someone in a career you are interested in.
  2. How they got their position.
  3. If they know of anyone hiring in the organisation you would like to work for.

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The hidden jobs market

The hidden jobs market describes jobs that are not formally advertised or posted online. There is no step-by-step guide to accessing it, but it involves networking, referrals, being open to conversations and putting yourself in the right place to meet people. 

The video on understanding and navigating job boards refers to the hidden jobs market at the end because with so many ways to find jobs these days, it’s easy to forget that most job vacancies are never advertised.  

Tapping into the hidden jobs market is more demanding than finding an advertised role. There are also no guarantees that it will work in the timeframe you have available to look for a job.

However, this strategy has the most potential for you to find a role that really suits you. It is also a very effective strategy for your medium to longer term career prospects. 

  • Spending time to deliberately build a network in an area of most interest to you can present opportunities later down the line, or even immediately in some cases.
  • 'Word of mouth' is your best ally when looking for new opportunities. 
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