4 Tips for tapping into the hidden job market

You may have heard that around 70%-80% of all jobs are not actually advertised and this statistic holds evidence from varying sources. Whilst this figure may be exaggerated for certain role levels it does still hold truth for various roles and most levels above entry. Think back to your previous roles and how many did you attain through an online application and how many did you hear about from friends and family. While some may have the luck of saying most roles were online this will not hold true for most of our readers.

Before an ad is ready to go live quite often it has been internally filled through lateral transfers / promotions or it has been filled by a colleague’s friend who was referred in. Many companies now even incentivise referrals through paid referral programs or simply just provide a faster pathway to decision makers within an organisation when someone internally puts a name forward.

Here we explore 4 methods for tapping this “hidden” market.


  1. Networking

Humans are innately social creatures who need to find companionship and be around like minds, this holds true in the job hunting world. As we mentioned many jobs are found through referrals, especially roles in the higher pay brackets.

Make sure you use every chance to network and let those around you know that you are hunting for a new role (but be wary not to let a current employer know unless your chasing an internal promotion).

If you do not have Linkedin then create one, it’s basically a combination of Seek and Facebook. Ensure you are registered on all job sites, let close friends and family know you want to move to a new role and if there’s a gathering with a chance to meet new people ensure you attend.

  1. Cold Calling

We hear cold calling and think of the annoying telemarketer who sits there with 500 numbers and pitches a sale, but why is this still seen so often? The simple answer is it works. This will also work well for certain roles, especially more entry level positions such as what students or labourers may be seeking.

Do not shy away from sitting down with a phone book or Google and calling the numbers of local businesses to politely request a work trial. While you may get 100 rejections you will only need one company to give you a chance, and you will likely find the position they offer was not advertised.

Ensure you are always polite on the phone, ask for a manager or HR team member and if they are busy then request a better time to call back. Do not be pushy on the phone but also don’t beat around the bush, just request the chance to speak to someone about a work trial or for the opportunity to have an interview.

  1. Face to face marketing

Those go getters who dress up nicely and hit the pavement ready to hand out resumes are on to a winning formula. This speaks for itself as it shows you are determined, lets a potential employer see exactly how you present yourself and shows them that you can find your way to the workplace easily. Again, this will only work for certain roles but at a minimum it may get you some great networking leads and provide a little bit of exercise.

Make sure you are neve pushy, if you demand the busy counter hand takes your resume then you have just ensured it gets a one-way trip to the bin. Never apply on somebody else’s behalf, this goes double for parents. We see it far too often that helpful parents believe that they are doing great work while their kids are busy with studies but all you are showing is that your child possibly couldn’t be bothered to apply themselves or that you’re going to be an over involved parent / friend / partner that will hassle the manager with all sorts of hiring queries or worse yet, get in the way when they are hired. If you see an amazing role while out and about then please refer to those interested, but ensure they do their own applying.

  1. Don’t burn a bridge

We have all left roles that perhaps we thought were life draining or simply not going to progress us further, but the future can be uncertain and you never know when you need that bridge to cross again. Telling an irritating supervisor where to stick their reports may feel cathartic at the time but it will not help you in the future if you wish to go back to the company, or require a reference from them.

Ensure you provide an appropriate amount of notice to resign, perhaps even offer a referral to take your position. Work every day like you were not leaving and ensure you are very respectful towards your colleagues and employers, they are your network for the future. Perhaps if you finish up your time respectfully you may even just get offered another role or promotion within the company if you agree to stay, and that could be amazing for you.


While many roles are advertised there are also many roles which are not. Hopefully these 4 tips will help you to tap into this hidden market and walk away with the role of a lifetime. If ever in doubt then please send us an email to ask about our job search coaching.

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