In tough economic times, it can seem almost impossible to ‘reboot’ your career. You can’t help but wonder whether Nepotism is rife when primo roles don’t even make it to the classifieds.
From the moment we are old enough to seek work, we have preconceived ideas about how to go about it. When you’re old enough to babysit you do a letterbox drop to your neighbours. When you hit 18 you drop your CV at bars you like, hoping for some weekend shifts to fund those nights out (when you probably should be home studying…) Once you reach the pointy end of uni you start getting all serious: applying for internships and apprenticeships, signing up for job-seeking sites (SEEK, The Loop, Mumbrella, Pedestrian.TV) and pestering you tutors. The arduous task of self-promotion and networking has begun.
And yes, as we’ve mentioned here before, these are all really important steps. However, the truly savvy jobseekers on the road to great careers don’t rely on conventional approaches – they seek out the HIDDEN job market.
The hidden market is not an in-your-face Dolly-Parton’s-cans kind of job market, but rather a more subtle, or even non-existent Fabio’s-brains kind of job market. Often, these jobs don’t even exist until you, the jobseeker, plant the seed in the mind of a potential employer that they simply can’t carry on without you.
Tapping into the hidden job market involves reaching out to anyone and everyone. Go beyond friends of friends, friends of parents and work associates. After you’ve got the part time job in that bar/shop/café you’ll probably get some regular customers. Have a chat with them as you serve them their morning caffeine hit – you’ll be amazed not only by what you discover, but the ways in which people are willing to help you with your career.
Make yourself memorable in any way possible – you want to get stuck in their minds so you’re the first person they think of when an opportunity arises. Being super helpful is an obvious way to achieve this.
Also, remember that networking is not just about selling yourself – it’s about LISTENING. One of the best ways to reboot your career is to get the inside track on how you can make a move. When you strike up a conversation with someone in the field you’re interested in, make sure you get the scoop on what’s happening in the industry. This information can be very useful in helping you position your skills when you next talk to a potential employer.