What is the hidden job market and how do you access it?


Only 20 per cent of job vacancies are advertised. Here's how to find your perfect job in the other 80 per cent.

A lot is written these days about the hidden job market, but what is it? Why is it important? And is it really any different to the adage, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know?” 

The hidden job market is a term used to describe jobs that exist but are not advertised. There are a lot more of them out there than you probably imagine. It is estimated that just 20 per cent of available roles are actually advertised. The rest are found in the hidden job market. So job ads really are just the tip of the iceberg for jobseekers. 

Thanks to social media and online networks, the hidden job market is something we now hear about, but it’s something that has been around for a long time. 

Here’s how people find jobs in the hidden job market: 

Through their networks

Your existing professional networks can be a great place to start. You can ask friends, family, current and former colleagues, old school friends, that guy on your volleyball team — anyone you meet, frankly. Anyone could be the right person to put you in touch with a potential employer about a job you’d be perfect for.

These are the people who can help you access the hidden job market, and for many people it’s how they have secured an entry-level role.

Through new networks

Put yourself out there. Join online networks and professional groups; go to events like conferences and trade shows; meet people. Open yourself up to the market and the market up to you. Let potential employers know you exist. Add new LinkedIn connections. Find a mentor in your industry and ask them for guidance, advice and contacts.

Contact employers directly

Many a jobseeker has landed a position in their dream industry simply by having the courage to ask. OK, so the company you’d love to work for isn’t advertising right now, but contact them and get your name known. You want to be on the top of the list when jobs are going. Sometimes someone from the firm will call back just hours or days after your introduction and say “actually, we have a holiday-fill job going for a month; can you start Monday?” Once your foot is in the door, you’re perfectly positioned to impress.

Shop closer to home

Don’t forget to look right on your own doorstep. If you already have a job but it’s not perfect, or you have your eyes on a dream role, ask yourself if the job you want exists at the company you’re already in. Let your current employer know. It shows them you have dreams, goals, drive and ambition. Approach them about it with a positive attitude and it will go a long way towards helping you get the job you really want.