How can I find those hidden jobs (the huge chunk of the iceberg lurking underwater…)?

You might have heard the term “creative job hunting” and wondered what exactly that meant. Or maybe you’ve been looking on the big graduate job sites like Milkround, Monster, Prospects, Totaljobs, TARGETjobs etc and just not really found anything for the career sectors you’re interested in. The fact is that these sites are great if you’re interested in graduate jobs with the big companies in finance, accountancy, general management, engineering etc, but if you’re interested in other areas like the creative industries, the media, the public or voluntary sectors, the environmental sector or even marketing, advertising and PR jobs, these sites will only take you so far and you could be left wondering where all the jobs are. The fact is that the majority of jobs are never advertised in the traditional way. In other words, advertised jobs are just the “tip of the iceberg” and there is a huge hidden job market, similar to that big chunk of the iceberg which lurks underwater. People get these “hidden” jobs through:

  • Already working for the company in some capacity (this can include temporary roles and work experience)
  • Contacts and networking (including social and online networking)
  • Headhunters and recruitment agencies
  • Speculative applications

Here are 4 quick tips for tap into the so-called hidden job market:

  1. Use specialist job sites. Many employers like to advertise on sector-specific job sites as they get applications from people who are definitely interested in that field, as opposed to the big graduate sites which can attract large numbers of untargeted, poor quality applications from graduates who have more of a scattergun approach, applying for anything and everything in the desperate hope that it will land them a job. Starting points for where to find lists of specialist job sites for the sectors you’re interested include our career sector pages and the job profiles on the Prospects website (click into an individual job profile and look for the page ‘Employers and vacancy sources’ for lots of good links.
  2. Plug keywords into job search engines. Check out my old blog post on job search engines to find out more about how to use them effectively.
  3. Use the professional networking site LinkedIn to make contacts that could open doors to work experience and jobs. If you’ve heard of LinkedIn and dismissed it because you think it’s just a site for experienced professionals, give it another chance. It’s absolutely great for current students. You can use it to search for companies and individual professionals in different sectors and locations to target for work experience, join sector specific groups and ask questions, contact University of Manchester alumni in the sector you want to get into, research people’s career paths and much more! Have a quick look at my previous post on getting started with LinkedIn and LinkedIn’s own short videos for students and graduates if you remain unconvinced. I know several students who have secured work experience and useful contacts through LinkedIn and one who was even headhunted by an recruiter!
  4. Use Twitter! You might think of Twitter as a fairly mindless social networking site whose sole function, if it has any at all, is to help distract you from looming assignment deadlines by following celebrities or having a bit of banter with your mates. Again, you’d be wrong. Twitter is also a brilliant tool for careers and job hunting. Well for a start, lots of jobs are advertised on Twitter. If you don’t believe me have a look at the site www.twitjobsearch.com which is essentially a job search engine for job tweets, of which there are millions. Why would an employer use Twitter to post a job? Several reasons. It costs them nothing. It tends to attract people who are a bit more proactive in looking for jobs (who are arguably more motivated). And best of all a good tweet about a job vacancy could be “re-tweeted” by different people and reach 1000s of Twitter users within the space of a few minutes – it markets itself! University of Manchester Linguistics student Catherine May is a huge advocate of Twitter and it has helped her get most of her work experience in journalism and social media. She’s even recently had an article published in the Guardian to share her tips with other students. But even if you don’t want to work in the media sector, Twitter is still a really useful tool. For example, check out our list of graduate recruiters on Twitter – there are bound to be loads more too, but this is a good starting point. Also check out the Careers Service’s @manunicareers and @mcrmediaclub Twitter accounts for careers related tweets. We tweet anything interesting we come across on Twitter and several of our students have found work experience or jobs through this alone!
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