Did you know that only around 20% of jobs are advertised? Most recruiting takes place through professional networks, which is why we call it the hidden job market.
When filling vacancies, most employers use a pyramid structure – whether they realize it or not. Employers start at the bottom of the pyramid and work upwards, whereas job seekers start at the top of the pyramid and move downwards.
Therefore employers and job seekers are literally working in reverse of each other. To access the hidden job network, you need to start thinking the way an employer would think and work up the pyramid. In short, you need to start using your networks!
Isn’t networking just handing out business cards?
Far from it! Networking is not just about meeting new people. It’s about using the people you already know, but have not yet been utilizing to get to where you want to be. You need to unlock the opportunities already available to you through the people you already know.
This is useful not just for finding work, but for finding information and help whenever you need it. Start thinking about who your existing contacts are. Who do you already work with who could help with your professional development? Who have you worked with before? Who do you know outside of your company? Start working up the pyramid.
What do you have to offer?
You know what you want to achieve and you now have a list of contacts, but you need to also be clear what you have to offer your network. What problems do you solve for employers or clients and what value can you create?
It’s helpful to write a short statement outlining all of the above to use on your profiles online and as an opening statement for conversations or emails.
Expand Your Horizons
It’s time to start chatting to people. Expanding your horizons is not just about meeting new people, it’s also about asking new questions and using new platforms. There is usually a lot to be discovered about people you already know, and many new opportunities to be found through people they know.
The Internet is brimming with forums and groups of influences and potential new contacts, so this is a good place to start. You can also use your private network to help you – you may discover that a family member you would never have thought of asking can help you. Look at local trade events and career fairs to attend, as these can be great for starting conversations. Remember to ask questions and be curious about the people you meet, as this is the best way to begin meaningful relationships.