Get the best jobs before they are advertised

An estimated 70% of jobs are not advertised. That’s a lot of hidden roles you might be missing out on. Here, Head Coach Ulrich Schild explains how to hunt the best jobs down.

Most hiring professionals agree that only 30% – maximum 40% – of all new jobs are ever advertised. That means that the majority of opportunities are never advertised on jobsites. And more often, the more senior the position, the less likely the job is to be advertised.

So, how do I access all these unadvertised jobs? 
The answer is professional networking and there are three basic steps to creating a robust networking plan. Here’s how:

Step 1

Map out, define and expand your existing network

Your network potentially includes almost everyone you’ve ever met for more than a fleeting transaction. We are certainly talking about family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, ex-colleagues, clients, ex-clients, your children’s friend’s parents, members of organisations you’ve joined and people in your online social networks.

·       Get contact information for your network

Ideally, you’ll need their email address and telephone number. An email address is usually sufficient. A great way to do this is through sites such as LinkedIn if you don’t already have them in your email address book.

·       Classify your network

Think of an archery board for this: who are your closest and most trusted allies who are most likely to help you (the bullseye)? Who makes up the outer bullseye – the next level of closeness? Try to segment your network into four or five levels of closeness.  Typically, the further removed from the centre, the more people that will fall into that category. Once you have classified your network, then focus on the middle and work out. For more detail, check this link from FOSSLR.

Step 2

Create and deliver your message

After clearly mapping and prioritising your network, the next step is to create a powerful and concise message to deliver to your network about what you want.

·       Get clear

Creating a clear message for your network means crafting a specific concise statement of exactly what kind of work you are looking for. Here is what you need to articulate:

  • What type of work you are looking for (marketing, sales, communications, project management, consulting, accounting, finance etc.)
  • What sectors you would like to work in (banking and finance, manufacturing, non-profit, government, hi-tech, retail, fashion etc.)
  • Ideally one or two example job positions (senior project manager, chief communications officer, vice-president of marketing)
  • Other important factors for you (size of company, company culture, flexibility, salary needs, etc.)
  • Note any organisations you have already identified that you’d like to work at.
  • For example, you might be interested in working in fashion retail and identify Top Shop, Gap, H&M, Zara and Benetton as your dream employers…

Crafting this short statement actually requires a fair amount of thinking and time to make sure you’re really clear on what you are looking for.  It won’t be clear for your network if it isn’t clear for you.

·       Reach out, and follow up

The next step is to send your message out to the world. Start with the people in your first network circle and send it by email, call them or best of all grab a coffee.

  • Make sure you keep track of who you’ve contacted and when, so you can follow up if you don’t hear anything. People are often busy and don’t get around to responding straight away, so don’t take this personally. You can send the message out to your next level of connections and so on.
  • Typically with this type of approach, the response rate is somewhere between 15% and 30% although this drops off as you get out to your looser connections. Following up can help to raise the rate.
  • Of the responses, you might find that a handful of your connections are really helpful and provide good connections to people in the right organisations or sectors. These connections are often the critical ones that lead to opportunity. Remember with this treasure hunt that all it takes is one great connection and you may find your dream job.

Step 3

Follow up and conduct informational interviews

Follow-up is both an art and a science. Typically, you’ll have multiple objectives for this part of the process:

  • To expand your network and meet another potential advocate in your job search, ideally in person or at least on the telephone
  • To share your background and experience
  • To plant the seed of the idea that your special blend of passion and skills might fit into their organisation or an organisation that they know
  • To identify any specific opportunities that might be available now
  • To learn more about the field and/or organisation you’re interested in
  • To identify next steps – whether that is to follow up on an opportunity, get more introductions, or have another conversation
·       The “follow-up” email

After getting an introduction (email, LinkedIn or otherwise) you should try to organise an informational interview. Typically, these are initiated by an email or LinkedIn Inmail, which should be concise. For example:

Dear John,

It is a pleasure to meet you through Lisa’s introduction.

As Lisa mentioned, I have a background in IT consulting with a focus on communication projects for hi-tech companies. I’m seeking my next challenge and am gathering more information on opportunities in the hi-tech world. Lisa told me a little about your experience and I’d love to hear more about your role at [insert company] and also your thoughts on the future of the sector.

I’m conscious you must be busy. However, would you be open to meeting for a quick coffee for no more than 30 minutes, just to get the ball rolling? I will be in town next xxxxx and could meet you at your office [insert time]. If that’s inconvenient, please let me know what times work best for you. Thanks in advance for your kindness and time.

With kind regards, 

[Your name]

After sending this mail, you may have to wait a while for a response. However, it’s fine to follow up with another email or phone call if you haven’t heard anything within a week.
In trying these 3 simple techniques, you’ll stretch your networking muscles and get a jump on that prized position before anyone else does. So, don’t wait. Get cracking and flex your professional networking muscles to secure that new job. Go hard, work with laser-like focus and always remember to hunt wisely!