Break into the hidden job market

It is estimated that about 80 per cent of jobs in Canada are never advertised

“Why can’t I get an interview?” It’s a question asked by many frustrated job seekers.

“I’ve been job searching for weeks. I have responded to 25 advertisements. I’ve looked online. I’ve read classified ads and I’ve even applied for jobs off the Help Wanted board at the local employment centre.”

Job search is tough, especially in small rural communities like Hope and the Fraser Canyon.

The first few weeks, job seekers launch in with enthusiasm. It’s easy applying online because there are just so many jobs to apply for.

However, the majority of employers are not enthusiastic about hiring new workers through advertising.

It is estimated that about 80 per cent of jobs in Canada are never advertised. Which means that you are looking at 20 per cent of the available jobs.

Worse still it’s estimated that approximately 80 per cent of job seekers only apply for advertised jobs. That is no different here than it is in Vancouver or larger centres.

We called a dozen small businesses in Hope and asked them if they had recently hired anyone or were about to hire anyone. We were surprised that eight said they were in that category. What was interesting was that none of them intended to advertise.

So the majority of job seekers are looking at the least number of jobs. So really the fewest number of job seekers are looking at the majority of jobs. Which group do you want to be in?

Both! Keep following leads but start breaking into the hidden job market too.

So how do you connect with the big group of employers?

First off you need to think about places where you would like to work. That may be easier said than done and I will cover that issue in another column. But let’s assume you have a few places you like the idea of working for. Look through the Yellow Pages and see the types of organizations doing what you want to do.

Next spend a little time researching them. Ask people who work there if you could do an informational interview and then find out if it really is a place where you would like to work.

Once you know who they really are then make an application that is tailored to suit them as an organization. Draw parallels between your skills, experience and personality and what you could see yourself doing there.

Applying to companies that are not advertising may seem counterintuitive but it actually yields the highest level of success in job searching.

Peter Bailey is a certified employment councillor and director at Free Rein Associates.