Written and researched by expert career coach Jeremy l’Anson, You’re Hired Total Job Search includes the latest developments in social media and online job-hunting tools to give you everything you need to find and secure the perfect role. Packed full of practical exercises and handy tips, the helpful guide will take you through the entire recruitment process, starting with this article about how to search for unadvertised jobs.
Jobs advertised in the press and on the internet often attract dozens or even hundreds of applications. The competition is fierce! Investing some time and effort in tracking down unadvertised vacancies will often pay off and invariably far fewer people will be applying for these jobs. You have a much better chance of success. In this article, we look at six practical strategies for digging out those unadvertised vacancies.
We all know the old adage it’s not what you know but who you know that really counts when you want to get ahead in this world, so the first step is to start networking. Make sure all your friends (including your Facebook friends) know that you are looking for a job and ask them if they know about any opportunities that might be right for you. These days many companies pay finder’s fees to employees who introduce a new member of staff (much cheaper than advertising or using a recruitment agency) so your friends may well be very motivated to help you out. If they don’t have opportunities themselves do they know someone who does?
- Use LinkedIn
Apart from contacting your friends you should also use a professional networking site such as LinkedIn. Make sure that you have a recruiter-friendly LinkedIn profile and use plenty of other keywords and phrases (sourced from job advertisements that you have been looking at) that relate to your particular set of skills and experience. Recruiters routinely search LinkedIn looking for candidates for their unadvertised jobs. Join some of the LinkedIn Professional Groups and mention in your introduction that you are looking for work, as other members may well contact you directly if they have a suitable opportunity.
- Get alerts of potential jobs straight to your inbox
Try using Google Alerts to get an immediate notification of events that might present a job opportunity. News of a business opening a new office or branch near you could well be a sign that the company will shortly need additional staff. A recent survey that came to my attention via Google Alerts indicated that there were over 2,500 unfilled vacancies with ‘tech start up’ companies across the UK: new companies just starting to recruit staff with vacancies advertised on their websites but nowhere else on the internet. Another Google Alert picked up the news that a large insurance group was opening an office in the North of England creating over 500 new vacancies, presenting an opportunity to apply early for any potential new job opportunities.
If you assume that Twitter is only good for celebrity gossip then think again. You might be surprised to learn that Twitter (with over 200 million users worldwide) is an excellent source of jobs. No, they’re not jobs that are advertised conventionally but even a quick search of Twitter will demonstrate that there is plenty of tweeting going on between job hunters and recruiters. Research suggests that 90% of companies in the US are using, or are planning to use, social media as part of their recruitment strategy and it’s happening in the UK as well. You can easily join Twitter, start following organisations and their recruiters and search for job opportunities that match your skills and experience. Many recruiters and employers now tweet job vacancies, usually with a link to the company website and a job specification. Make sure you follow recruiters and employers who advertise vacancies in your field and contact them directly.
- Approach employers directly
Another good tactic would be to make a direct approach to a company that you know undertakes work in your field. Don’t send speculative applications to the ‘HR Manager’ or ‘Recruitment Manager’ as you are unlikely to get a response. Instead take some time to research the company using Google, LinkedIn or Twitter and try to identify the person within that organisation who might have a suitable vacancy, then send a speculative application letter and your CV to that person by name.
- Attend trade fairs and conferences
Use Google Alerts and check the trade press to find out about trade fairs, conferences and events. Whatever your professional background you will find plenty of events happening across the country and throughout the year. It’s sometimes the case that you need to pay to attend these events, but very often you can simply register and turn up. Make sure that you take plenty of copies of your CV and some business cards and start networking and introducing yourself.
Of course you should keep responding to conventional job advertisements, but rather than sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, take control and try some of these ideas to revitalise your job search and track down those unadvertised vacancies.
Emma Davies works within the editorial department at Trotman Publishing. Graduating from her Masters degree in 2017, she is familiar with all aspects of the student journey through university. She is passionate about helping students find the right career, and was a member of the SYP’s inaugural committee in the South West.