As the time draws near to graduation, university graduates are gearing up to enter the job market. While these eager graduates are getting ready to approach the workforce they will be competing with new immigrants for some of the same jobs. In July 2009, The National Post published an article, How To Hear “You’re Hired” Tapping Into The Hidden Job Market written by former student, Greg Murray. Although the article was written almost 10 months ago the ideas are still valid and applicable to both new graduates and new immigrants who are enthusiastic about entering the workforce.
The following article, demonstrates the importance of tapping into the hidden job market and provides a wealth of tips on how to access it.
How To Hear “You’re Hired” Tapping Into The Hidden Job Market
In today’s age of double-digit unemployment metrics, hiring freezes and lowered recruitment quotas, finding a job for new graduates is tough. This said, many great jobs are still out there however they take skill, ingenuity and a long-term focus to get. Below I have communicated my tried-and-true measures to get these good jobs, as well as observations from my journey along the road from student to hired professional.
The first step is to realize that good jobs at great companies do exist right now and are often in abundance. This is because successful companies realize that during these tough times the need for fresh and top talent increases substantially, and making room in their tightening budgets for recruitment takes priority.
But according to CNNMoney.com, these jobs are usually not posted on Monster.com, in the classifieds or even known about at universities. They state that merely 20% of them are publicized which leads to 80% of jobs comprising the “hidden” job market.
This hidden market of jobs – composed usually of the good jobs – are only open to the smart few who know how to tap into them. Put another way, while most new grads go after the small 20% of publicized jobs because of their accessibility, this leaves the 80% of remaining jobs to those who, simply put, know how to network in concert with the other factors I identify below.
The root of this problem in my opinion is that new grads are leaving the task of getting a job too late. They believe that they will be snatched up after graduation due to their illustrious BComm or MBA and because their mother thinks they are amazing. This said, finding a job is a full time job, and should be considered an additional course each semester at school. The only way to tap into this ‘hidden’ job market is to leverage the power of your degree starting from day one of your academic career – before you have even received your degree – and continue for your entire life.
I come with some experience on this topic. A new grad myself, I successfully followed my own advice below and landed a great job in these tough times in an accelerated leadership program at one of the world’s most admired companies: PepsiCo.
Here is what you need to do to hear “you’re hired” and tap into the elusive hidden job market:
- Network profusely and effectively to connect with industry professionals. Networking is the end-all-and-be-all of getting a great job in these tough times. Attend conferences, job fairs, student group events, cold call around to companies and apply your own creative ideas to get your name known within companies and industries. A LinkedIn account is a must with the stretch goal to increase your number of connections by 25% per month.
- Complete as many internships as possible across different companies and industries. Internships are the second most important tools (after networking) to use to get a great job. Not just one, but rather one each summer during your academic career in order to experience diversified companies and industries. While it is important to establish a solid track record at these jobs, it is even more important to remain in touch and to always leave on good terms. Internships are a sure-fire way to set you up to be hired for a career by that company as they usual target trusted employees – past and present – before expanding their search abroad when looking for talent.
- Know who you are and what you want to get out of a job and a career. Those who get the good jobs have a clear direction of where they are going. They identify with the company and industry that they desire and can’t see themselves anywhere else. This comes from experience – the good and the bad – including internships and student group involvement. It also comes from honest self-reflection and diligent personal goal setting.
- Leverage the accessibility and privileges that being a student grants you. This includes attending free conferences, tapping into your professors’ networks and gaining leadership experience in student organizations. I honestly don’t know what people talk about at job interviews without these on their resumes and being a student is the only way to access them.
- Know how to sell your strengths and communicate your personal brand. Those who get the good jobs understand a certain amount of shameless self promotion is needed during the job search and interview stages. You must clearly communicate how you fill the requirements for the job and the voids in the company in a way that captures the attention and imagination of the recruiters and manager making the decision.
Always remember that great jobs are still present in this economy because successful companies realize the importance of bringing in top talent during tough times. Don’t fall victim to the negative economic rhetoric or the news media’s apparent “massive job shortage.” Rather network, complete internships, self-reflect, leverage all that being a student grants you and then work on defining and communicating your strong personal brand.
Despite what your parents will tell you, it’s not just what you know, it is also who you know, how you know them, and what they know about you that makes all the difference. The sooner you start this in your academic journey the more successful you will be at finding a great job in the hidden job market.
While this is not easy to do, remain motivated by the fact that by following this advice you will be tapping into the 80% of jobs that most new grads don’t even know exist. That’s how to hear “you’re hired!”