Job search advice
Key strategies for changing your job or career

jobsearch decisions

My first piece of job search advice'll need to use a range of strategies to successfully change your career or find your next job.

Why? Because the employers who are going to hire you are also using a range of methods to recruit the talent they are seeking.

For example, did you know that many employers don't even advertise that they have a vacancy - they rely on word of mouth recommendations from their own network of friends and associates.

This is especially true of small and medium sized organisations. Think for a minute about how hundreds, or thousands, of job applications an organisation might be received when they use employment classified ads.

Job search advice - some important facts you should know

The best job search sites will often quote this fact - only 20-40% of the work that is available at any one time is advertised.

That of course means that a whopping 60-80% of jobs are never advertised. This is supported in an article which appears in CNN - read the article here.

Further to this, a recent article in a discussion thread on the professional networking site suggests that up to 90% of executive jobs paying in excess of $200K are not advertised.

What does this mean for your job search?

Well my next piece of job search advice need to do more than simply look at classified job ads in newspapers and in online jobs if you really want to identify the employment opportunities that might exist for you.

No prizes for guessing which job search strategy you'll need to implement to access the 60-80% of work that isn't advertised - it's called job networking.

The best job search sites will also make reference to the importance of doing this. Job networking can be a particularly effective local job search strategy, but not exclusively so.

Today, partly as a result of social media, people have networks which are global. People who move globally in their careers regularly find work by networking.

Job search advice - networking

Think about networking in terms of your own career so far.

Have you ever gotten a job because of someone you knew?

Or, alternatively you got a job because someone you knew happened to know someone else who had a job opportunity for you?

In my own career, all but two of the many jobs which I've had came my way because of people I knew, or through connections of people that I knew. In some cases I wasn't even looking to change jobs.

Many of my clients have also found employment as a result of some form of job search networking with their professional or personal contacts, or, as a result of a referral from contacts within their network.

Job search advice
Are employment ads going out of fashion?

Why don't employers use classified or online employment ads to recruit staff?

As previously mentioned, one of the main reasons is the sheer amount of work a job ad can generate for the employer.

There may be several hundreds of applications received for an advertised position. And the job of screening applicants can be disappointing for an employer who advertises! Why?.....because many of the applicants are unlikely to be sufficiently qualified or suitable for the position.

So.....the workload generated from a job ad can be a deterrent to an organisation advertising vacant positions. What alternative do they have you ask? - they hire people based on word of mouth recommendations - via networks!

Despite this, advertising job vacancies, either in newspapers, or via online job search sites and jobs boards is still the preferred option for many employers wanting to recruit staff.

Job search advice - the hiring process explained

The process often works this way:

  • A staffing need identified by the line manager - someone has resigned, or a new position has been created to meet operational demand.
  • Line manager secures, or ensures that there is a budget for a new staff member.
  • Line manager formally approaches own networks - peers, members of the work group, professional associates - even family and friends (because people talk about their work, outside their work).
  • If this activity doesn't produce a candidate, and/or it is the organisation's policy to advertise, then assistance of the Human Resources (HR) might be obtained.
  • HR either arranges employment ads, either or both in newspaper and online......and/or engages a professional recruitment firm. In small/medium sized organisations the line manager might make these arrangements instead of HR.

The position is then actually advertised and appears in the public domain:

  • Formal and informal applications are received, and short list of potential candidates to be interviewed is prepared.
  • Candidates are interviewed.
  • The references are checked of candidates who are being closely considered for the position.
  • A job offer is made to the successful candidate.
  • The position is filled.

Job search advice
The job market and your job search strategy

As you can probably see now, the jobs market, from your point of view, consists of

  • Jobs that you, and many other people know about - the advertised, or visible job market.
  • Jobs that you, and most other people, don't know about - the hidden market.

What is the relevance to your job search strategy to the statistics about how much employment is advertised (20-40%), and how much employment opportunity is hidden? (60-80%)

Consider spending:

  • 20-40% of your time looking at and responding to employment classified ads on online jobs boards
  • 60-80% of your time actively networking

Job search advice - working the "visible" market

Here's a few things to keep in mind about working the visible or advertised job market.

  • Most people engaged in jobsearch will only ever look at employment ads, and literally do nothing else to find work.
  • These same people will look in the obvious places like everyone else does - they'll never network.
  • This type of jobsearch strategy means lots of competition, and.....less chance that you might get the job.

Looking for work only in this way is a reactive strategy. This means that you are only take action to find work when employment ads appear. In other are reacting to the marketplace.

If there are no employment ads it means your job seeking activity stops.

Don't misunderstand!

By all means look at newspaper ads and jobs listed on job search websites. One of my favourites is Jobsearchcafe, especially if you are looking for work in the U.S.A.

But.....and it's an important but.....don't make this the only thing that you do in your search for employment.

Job search advice - employment agencies

Seriously consider using employment or recruitment agencies to assist you with your career or job change.


Start by doing some research into which professional employment or recruitment agencies are located in your local area. Then, check them out and see what they have to offer.

The advantage to you in using these types of organisations is that they know the local job market. They'll also have both advertised and non-advertised vacancies on their books.....AND.....clients who are ready to hire.....maybe you!

Never used an employment agency before? Their services are free to job seekers, but you need to know how to manage your relationship with them.

Job search advice - how to work the hidden market

As you're aware by now, this is where most of the jobs action is likely to be. Working in the hidden market means you have to network.

When you are networking you are being highly proactive in your search for a new job or in making your desired career change.

Most people never get started on networking, either because they don't know how.....OR......they lack the confidence to do it.

There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstaning about networking. Many job search sites suggest that people get involved in networking, but fail to give a detailed explanation of networking strategies that work.

It's important to realise that networking is a skill - in fact a set of skills, all of which can be learned.

Networking - what it isn't

Many people never get started on networking because they misunderstand what is involved.

So let's clear up the mystery....

Networking as it applies to job search does not involve asking friends, friends of friends or professional acquaintances for a job!

So.....what IS involved in networking - go here to find out.

Job search advice
The hidden market and cold calling

Cold calling, sometimes called cold prospecting, is a term used in sales where a salesperson makes unsolicited, or uninvited approaches to clients to determine if the client has a need for the product or service being sold.

Cold calling is also a valid job search strategy. It involves approaching prospective employers, uninvited, either by phone, with a cover letter, or literally calling in off the street to their premises to ask about employment opportunities.

Lots of people have found employment this way - simply because they have asked. This approach however is not for everyone.

Why? Because you will certainly experience at lot of "NO's". This constant rejection can take its toll on confidence and self esteem. So, plan your approach carefully before implementing such a strategy.

Job search advice - tying it all together

How you go about looking for a new job, or a job you have identified as a result of your career development planning, and where you should look for that job, will ideally involve a combination of activities.

Therefore, my job search advice is to include these things:

  • Looking in places where the job or career you are seeking is likely to be advertised - this is a reactive jobsearch strategy.
  • Pursuing information and opportunities about your job or career direction through people - called networking - this is a very proactive strategy.
  • Using the services of employment agencies and professional recruiters, and doing this in a targeted way.
  • Implementing a cold call strategy, either by phone, letter, email, or by visiting the organistion.

New! Comments

Has this helped you in your job search? What else would you like to see here about job search? Leave me a comment in the box below.
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