Uncovering The Hidden Job Market – Is This The Fastest Way To Get A Graduate Job?

“If you come here, you will find hidden treasure”
-Paulo Coelho

Did you know that 80% of all job vacancies are never made public? If you are hunting for a graduate job, you may be missing out on the fastest way to find a new role. Here’s why and how you should tap into the hidden jobs market.

unlock the hidden graduate job market

                                           Unlock the hidden job market

Recession or no recession, finding a graduate job is tough. There is a lot of competition from other job seekers, a ton of stress to make a good impression on the interviewer and worst of all, it just takes up too much time.

But what if I told you there is a way you can avoid all this – that you can in fact pre-empt the competition, build a great relationship with your future employer from the start and most importantly find a graduate role in quick time?

The good news is: this is possible – you can hack your way into finding a graduate job vacancy easier, simpler and faster. All via one method: by accessing the hidden jobs market.

 “If you’ve only been looking at advertised jobs, you’ve literally been missing out on thousands of graduate vacancies out there”



What Are Hidden Jobs?

Hack The Hidden Job Market: Is This The Fastest Way To Find A New Job?

Most of us are taught to look for a new job in one of two ways: either we look for graduate vacancies via job websites like Monster and Indeed or we use the services of a recruitment agency.

The problem with these approaches is twofold:

a) They don’t work: it’s not very effective – job boards and recruiters only account for 5% and 14% of all job offers respectively

b) They’re in the minority: even more worryingly: they only account for 20% of all jobs out there.

The important bit: because employers may not have the time, money or the skills required to recruit effectively, most job openings aren’t publicized. In fact, it’s estimated that as much as 80%, the vast majority of all jobs out there, are never advertised.

It’s these vacancies make up the hidden job market. What that means for you as a graduate job hunter is that if you’ve only been looking at advertised jobs, you’ve literally been missing out on thousands of graduate vacancies out there because you didn’t know they existed.

Now that you know, you can exploit this to maximize your job hunt.


4 Reasons Accessing The Hidden Job Market Will Transform Your Life

Hack The Hidden Job Market: Is This The Fastest Way To Find A New Job?


Apart from having the majority of career opportunities, the hidden job market has several other distinct advantages to you as a graduate job seeker:

Eliminate The Competition: Remember that most grads only apply for advertised vacancies and so don’t know about the hidden job market. What that means for you is when you get in front of the employer – there is a lot less competition to worry about and a greater chance of you actually being offered the job.

Level Up Immediately: going via the hidden job market often means taking a more pro-active approach to your job search, as we’ll see later. Being proactive is like unlocking an achievement in a video-game, as most employers automatically see you as more competent and capable just because you took the initiative to act. It makes you stand out from other graduates and features you as a serious contender for getting the job.




Make The Employer Fall In Love With You: uhmm…not quite, but you will make an immediate positive impression. Not dealing with recruiters or some other kind of middleman means you get to build better quality rapport with the employer and a better likelihood of leaving a good impression. Also, as 70% of all job offers come from direct contact with the employer, dealing directly with the hiring manager gives you the greatest chance of getting a job offer.

Get A Graduate Job By The End Of The Day: Compared to advertised vacancies, hidden jobs typically tend to have a more informal recruitment process. One stage interviews are very common and generally, faster interviews lead to faster hiring. Which means that if you are successful – you are hired faster.


The 3 Guises Of Hidden Graduate Jobs

hidden graduate jobs disguises

Hidden graduate jobs can come in many guises…

Before you can begin to search for hidden jobs, you have to understand the different facets they can come in:

i) Pipeline Jobs: these are graduate jobs that are about to emerge, but not yet made public. Pipeline jobs often spring up due to company expansion or company growth.

ii) ‘Always Hiring The Right Skill’ Jobs: This is when an employer is always looking for a particular skill-set (within a graduate or entry level role) but isn’t formally hiring for it. If a graduate with the required skills comes along the company will hire them.

iii) Replacement Jobs: Very simply, this is a graduate position that arises replacing someone who has left the company or has been promoted from a graduate post to a senior role.


3 Practical Ways To Find A Hidden Job: A Short Overview

1) Networking

graduates networkingYou may think you’ve heard it all when it comes to networking (ask friends, family, etc, etc) however, what you might not know is that the quality of the relationship matters – a lot.

Sociologist Mark Granovetter did a study showing that that job hunters were 58% more likely to find a new job through ‘weak ties’, (casual acquaintances) rather than strong ties (close friends and family). So to get a job, get in touch with your casual acquaintances.

65% of people find jobs through referrals, as employers prefer to hire via internal recommendations from their existing staff. If you’ve been recommended by an employee you will always have an advantage, as you’re perceived more trustworthy and secondly, if you become aware of a vacancy still at internal stage, you’re able to undercut the competition and get an interview before the other job seekers can.

Although networking is a perfectly viable method to find hidden jobs, we won’t be exploring networking all that much, because it can be time-consuming and of course assumes that you have a large enough network to tap into – many graduates don’t (I certainly didn’t!)


2) A Simple Google Search
This strategy is so simple that its unbelievable it actually works – but it does.

google search to find hidden graduate jobs

Technically this method is not entirely hidden, it’s just buried under the noise and rubble of social media, online job websites and recruiters.

It works in the following way:

a) Go to Google
b) Type in the following: job title + careers + town/city

screencap 2

For example: ‘junior developer’ + ‘careers’ + ‘London’

screen cap 3

c) Hit enter and scroll through all the search results: ignore the job websites and recruitment agencies and select results showing jobs only on company websites. Keep scrolling through all the pages Google provides (I’d say around 10-12) until you’ve exhausted the search.

screen cap 4Although this method can be a little time consuming, it’s incredibly successful. Just to illustrate my point: when I did the above search for ‘junior developer’ I found 5 vacancies directly with companies in London just from looking at the first 2 pages. Seek and you shall find.

Bonus tip: play around with different keywords and different synonyms for even more results e.g. instead of ‘careers’ type in ‘jobs’ or ‘vacancies’, do the same with your given job title (look at related job titles, often companies who are hiring for one post will also be looking for other similar job roles)

3) Cold Calling

graduate career opportunities

My favourite method by far. It’s also the method that we’ll be exploring at graduatejobinaweek.co.uk over the next few weeks. Coldcalling is a great way to find some real hidden gems, whether it’s ‘Pipeline jobs’, ‘Always hiring jobs’ or ‘Replacement jobs’ you name it – any graduate job vacancy – it’s only one phone call away.

The key to succeeding at coldcalling for a job is to be very targeted and specific about it. Unlike networking and Google searches you can’t take a ‘spray and pray’ approach to it. So before you begin, you have to get to know your industry. Do some research and ask yourself the following questions:

‘Who in the industry is likely to hire someone with my skill set?’

‘Who has had a lot of growth or expansion lately?’

Then follow these steps:

I) Create a list of about 50-100 companies that fit the above criteria (likely to hire similar skill set and lots of growth).

II) Find relevant hiring managers and team leaders via LinkedIn

III) Get their telephone number (from the company’s website), call them and pitch them

(in case you’re wondering how to pitch, there will be a full length article on ‘cold calling for a graduate job’ very soon on this blog)

N.B – for those of you worried that you’ll be blocked by a receptionist: if you are looking for a job, staff will almost always make an exception to help you, after all, if they have a vacancy they will need your services.

Please note, over the next few weeks there will be more in-depth posts on finding a graduate job using the hidden job market, so stay tuned!

There you have it, a quick guide to finding and unlocking the hidden graduate job market.

What about you? How did you find your first job and did it take a long time? Look forward to your insights in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like:
How To Get A Graduate Job In 3 Days
This Is Why You Haven’t Gotten A Graduate Job Yet – 8 Reasons You Haven’t Been Hired

Image Credits: Via Flickr Under Creative Commons

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