Many job opportunities are never advertised. It’s been estimated that more than half of positions vacant in Australia are filled through an informal network rather than formally advertised. Often called the “hidden job market”, these jobs can only be accessed through networking or cold calling. These techniques are among the most powerful and effective way of finding a job, and planning and practice will increase your confidence.
Once you know what industry or type of job you want to do, thorough research is called for. Make some notes about what you already know about the industry or type of job you would like. A second list might be made up of what you don’t yet know but need to find out. The information you need includes:
- Where is the industry or job type geographically located? Would you have to relocate to work in this area?
- Is this industry growing or shrinking? Is this a high-demand occupation or are unemployment rates high?
- Which companies are the major “players” in the industry?
- Is there a professional association that represents this industry or this group of workers?
- Are there related occupations that face skill shortages?
- Are formal qualifications required to work in this industry or occupation?
- Where will you find these types of jobs? Only in large corporations, or in small businesses as well?
- Are these types of vacancies generally filled by recruitment agencies or directly by the companies?
This may seem a daunting list, but reading the employment sections of the major newspapers over a period of weeks can often provide a good feel for this information. Your local library may keep back copies of newspapers. If there’s a professional association for the industry or occupation, call or visit and ask for or buy copies of the trade journal. If you’re at university or high school, make use of your career guidance services. You’re already using the Internet: make full use of its potential for research. It’s worth taking some time to explore different search engines and how to refine your search for information. Yellow Pages directories are a good starting point for identifying names and locations of companies.
Finish this process by compiling a list of the companies you want to work for. It might be the specific department of a single company or your list might include every company in the industry that is located within a 20 km radius of home.
Research the companies
Next, find out everything you can about your target companies: their product lines, competitors, prices, growth prospects, organisational structure, employment policies, key staff and overseas trends and developments which may effect local operations.
You can find this information in places like:
- annual reports;
- customer newsletters;
- trade magazines;
- product brochures and catalogues;
- sales representatives.
The best option is speaking in person to someone who works there or knows someone who does. This is where your personal contact list will be vital.
Attend conferences, seminars and trade shows
Trade shows are a showcase for companies in your industry of interest. They’ll give you a good feel for corporate size, culture, reputation and you can have a chat with representatives of each company.
Seminars and conferences provide valuable opportunities for informally meeting people who are already working in the industry. These are most likely in professional occupations and they are often expensive. They are worthwhile as long as you’re willing and able to “work the room.”
The meeting approach
You: “Hello Fiona. I’m Roger Smart. I was really interested in your presentation this morning. I’m about to graduate from the editing course at X university/I’m looking to move from a career in marketing into the publishing business. I understand that Context Publishing is a big client of yours. I’m really interested in working for Context, and I’d love to know more about them from an insider’s point of view. It might not be the best time now, but is there a chance we could arrange to talk further?”
List personal contacts
Co-workers (past and present), neighbours, previous employers, family members, friends, your professional advisors, lecturers, sporting buddies, suppliers and customers can all be the start of your contacts list. (Some of these relationships may be sensitive, particularly if you are already working and your employer doesn’t know you’re looking for another position.) Get in touch with your contacts and ask if they can help directly or by referring you to someone they know who can.
Use your contacts to explore opportunities and to gather more information. Asking outright for a job can put a contact in an embarrassing position. It’s more appropriate to ask them for their advice: “John, I’m interested in moving into the publishing industry — do you know anyone I should be talking to?”. If John can suggest someone, ask if you can use his name when you introduce yourself. Always remember that your contacts are doing you a favour by introducing you to other people and that your conduct will reflect on them.
Be as specific as you can. For example:
- “Do you know anyone who works for Optus?”
- “Do you know anyone who works as a fitter and turner?”
- “I’m looking for a job in advertising. Do you know anyone who works in that field?”
“I have excellent keyboard skills and I’m familiar with computers. I have three years experience as a receptionist. I want to use these skills in a customer service job. Can you give me any advice, or do you know anyone who might be able to help?”
Ask for the job
Cold calling still means ringing strangers and asking for a job. You’ll be better equipped to do this once you’re armed with a good knowledge of the industry or company.
- Know the name and title of the person who has the power to hire you.
- Rehearse your opening line, including demonstrating your knowledge of and specific interest in that company.
- Mention how you can benefit the company.
Depending on the type of work, your goal in making a call may be to organise a visit or to send your CV, which you then follow up. Your research should have revealed what is the more effective strategy for the industry and job you are chasing.
Keep a record
Keep a record of all the contacts you make. This record could be as elaborate as creating a database or a Word macro on your home computer or laptop or as simple as an exercise book, ruled into columns. How you do it isn’t nearly as important as keeping your records accurate.
Client Centric – Executive Employment Solutions are a boutique employment services company specialising in executive and managerial level roles. We are committed to helping you succeed in your career and to do this we have the best staff on board to help you reach your goals. Our team are highly experienced and knowledgeable in a broad range of areas and expertise, so you get the best advice. We service clients all over Australia including Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart. We provide Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, LinkedIn Profiles, Addressing Selection Criteria’s and we also offer a Job Application Service where we apply for jobs on your behalf and all you do is wait for the call. Please visit our website at www.clientcentric.com.au to find out more.