How To Get The Jobs That Are Never Advertised

How To Get The Jobs That Are Never Advertised

Have you wondered why some people simply seem to get the good projects, promotions and opportunities?

Hidden Job photo from Shutterstock

After working in Talent Acquisition and HR and interviewing 1000s of people, I can assure you that the landscape has changed dramatically over the last 3-5 years.

The forces that have created that change are largely due to the availability of data, systems and networks and how people use them. Agencies used to have the ultimate databases of tens of thousands of candidates that were not available to companies unless they paid a hefty placement fee. But today, platforms like Linked In make this data available to any company seeking talent.

But the question is how do you stand out so that you get the best opportunities?

Once upon a time, when you wanted to make a change in your career, the first thing would be to update your resume and start applying.

In today’s world, it is estimated that 80% of jobs filled come from the “hidden job market;” that is, the jobs that don’t get advertised. If you are still of the opinion that the best thing you can do is update your resume and start applying, I would challenge you to think differently.

The people who are getting the great opportunities are doing things differently. My top 5 differentiators are here:

They Value Relationships

Intentionally, I used the word “relationships” because people who get the best opportunities, value their networks like real relationships. People who build and leverage their networks and relationships will find the hidden job market easily.

Make networking a regular part of your managing your career and engage with people in a meaningful way. If you only network when you are looking for opportunities, you are missing the point. Invest in mutually beneficial relationships.

My #1 rule when it comes to networking is give first. Get in touch with colleagues or people in your network and give something of value. Remember what is important to them and when you see something that could be of value (an article, post, job opening etc.) send it to them. Connect with people on Linked In and always be thinking about how you can give first. If you are adding value to others first, when it comes time for someone to add value your way, it is an easy conversation. People like to give opinions, so be sure to ask them who else you should be talking to. If you are seeking opportunities, let them know. There might be someone in his or her network who could be seeking someone just like you.

They Manage Their Professional Brand

If you have not been in the job market for the last few years, this might seem like a foreign expression. Whether you like it or not, Professional Branding is here to stay, thanks to Linked In, Facebook, Twitter etc. It simply refers to managing your messages, your content, thought leadership and visuals in a way that is authentic, professional and consistent. As a first port of call, you should amp up your Linked In profile so that you stand out. It means more than just adding your current title. There is now a way for you to represent more than just words on a page by including video, presentations, white papers etc. If it is too daunting of a task, employ a career coach to help you with it.

Companies like hiring people who come through referral networks. They can avoid advertising and find someone through the ‘hidden channel.’ It is cheaper, quicker and comes with an added element of assurance because of the recommendation.

They Believe In Being The Best They Can Be

You can be a great networker and manage your professional brand well, but if you are not highly competent in your field, everyone will know it when it comes time to reference checking. Ultimately, you have to be willing to be your best and whatever you do and whatever level you are.

They Understand The Power Of Engagement

I can promise you one thing is certain – disengaged employees do not get promotions and great projects. They get sidelined.

Engagement comes from truth. People who get the best opportunities are well connected to their truth, vision, values and goals. They are well aligned. And when people are aligned with their truth, it is easy to perform well at work. Work is enjoyable. Even in the face of difficult times, they can connect with what they love doing and stay engaged with the outcome. Engaged people are good goal setters. Every hiring manager and HR manager out there are seeking people who can set stretch goals and outperform their objectives.

They Invest In Themselves

There is a fundamental difference in careers between people who believe they know everything and people who approach challenges with a sense of learning. The people who get ahead in the career stakes value learning and investing in themselves. They believe there is always something to learn or improve. Whether it is increasing their EQ, leadership development, coaching others (or having a coach) or further technical/discipline training, they continue to stretch their capacity. When we stretch our capacity and corresponding output, we continuously grow. We assure our relevance. It does not matter if it is someone who is seeking to climb the ladder into leadership or someone seeking to be the best at a particular discipline, the world continues to change and therefore, we must change and adapt as well. Finally, if you are continuously evolving in your career, you will have greater visibility and attract the hidden opportunities more easily.

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  • 80% of jobs aren’t advertised? Really? Where did that number come from; a robust survey across all employment domains and markets, or just in a hand full that were ready to hand. Without credible research, its a meaningless number.

  • Hmm, some of the above would seem to be true, as it appears from my discussions with many IT professionals, that most of their most interesting jobs come from personal acquaintances and contacts. Don’t overlook the professional headhunters, as many of the hiring managers are still rooted in the old model of getting a recruiter to process the applicants before they get to the personal interview stage. Also don’t forget the unofficial networks, ie volunteer organisations, sports clubs, etc where people from different backgrounds get together to participate in a common activity. Many times these can lead to the best offers, as people already know you from a non work related background.

  • Networking is the sole answer. If you excell at that, you will land any job you can imagine. I have landed my dream job through a guy that I met at a business conference. I helped him find his seat!
    So when you meet someone, don’t be all like “what should I sell him” or “how to get his wallet”. You have to concetrate on helping him and later, he would gladly ask for your trade and the magic is going to happen.
    I am surpised that “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is not mentioned since it is the Alpha and Omega of making business.

    • I couldn’t agree more! In my experience it has so much more to do with who you know! Often, individuals are hired within a company or friends/old colleagues are brought in to the mix. For example, my husband got a job with a company when his friend told him about a position that opened up. Since having started there, one of the big wigs created a high end position for his neighbor that he is buddies with. Six months after the friend started, they created another position for the friend’s brother. Networking is everything!

    • 157,278 jobs were posted in July (ANZ job ads report). So, I guess there were actually 786,390 jobs available. With about 800,000 unemployed in Australia, there should be only only a handful out of work next month…so the 80% is not credible. 20% I might believe.

  • Many people (usually women) end up out of the loop through life events such as care responsibilities, etc. This article seems to be mostly about how people already in the workforce and related networks can stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, in some areas of work and some workplaces, standing out from the crowd by having better technical expertise and being able to solve problems with it doesn’t get you this kind of attention. It depends on what people expect. Low quality jobs are poorly paid, and everyone has low expectations. In my country, research shows that a greater proportion of people working in administration have university degrees than people who hold managerial positions. So it’s quite often the case staff are able to make contributions that managers can’t appreciate or don’t welcome.

    In addition to the un- and under- employment, poor quality jobs, etc, it needs to be understood that the social networks of people poor life circumstances are likely to be different from those of the happily employed and well-remunerated. So you can imagine there really is a significant population with little access to the kinds of opportunities mentioned in the article. One day, medium and large organisations, and their HR professionals, might understand that genuinely more inclusive employment practices increase the size and expertise of the talent pool, and the size of the economy along with it.

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