How to find a ‘hidden’ job

Speculative Applications – why and how

Many jobs are not advertised – what is called the hidden job market – and you will need to be proactive and approach employers directly, rather than waiting for a job to be advertised.  Speculative approaches can be used to find paid work, work experience/work shadowing and voluntary positions.  In many cases, you need to be aware of the recruitment patterns for the  industry – is it the best time to be applying?  With that in mind, here’s how to do it…

  • Identify your target company – look within a specific industry or profession; find employers in the sector that interests you – large blue chip, small or medium sized firm, charity, start-up, public sector…
  • Location – do you want to work in a specific area or place?  Look at local business directories, Chamber of Commerce to help you locate companies
  • Find out more about your target company through local/national newspapers; business / trade / professional magazines; website; talking to them at a networking/recruitment meeting
  • Find out what level of work they can offer you by looking at current /recent vacancies.  If the firm offers a formal ‘graduate’ scheme, they may still recruit graduates directly into jobs.
  • Match your skills and experiences with what they are looking for
  • Find a named contact.  This is probably the hardest part, but be persistent.  Use of networking and recruitment events to pick up the name of the person responsible for recruiting is best, but you can always ring the firm and ask them for the name of the person responsible for recruiting xxx…
  • Write a targeted covering letter, making sure you spell their name correctly.  Be clear about what you want.  Is it to gain a permanent job, temporary work, work experience/work shadowing or to arrange a time to come for a brief visit, for a short chat over the phone, or to meet a new/recent graduate to ask for advice on joining the company.  Make sure your letter is concise and points out the benefits you bring to them, not what you want from the employer.
  • Keep your options open however; you may be looking for a permanent job, but initial temporary work could lead to the possibility of a permanent position later on…
  • Attach a targeted CV (make sure the font matches the font used on the cover letter)
  • Follow up your speculative application with a short phone call a few days later to check they have received it
  • Be prepared for rejection, but sometimes, even if they have no openings at the time, they can help point you in the right direction…
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About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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