The alternative route to getting a graduate job
No doubt you have heard about the traditional way to score yourself a graduate job. Smarten up your CV, send it out to advertised posts either online or in person, and then sit tight and wait for a response. The hope is that someone will spot you out of the thousands of applicants that also saw that advert and recognise that your skills and experience match their expectations. Often this works well, and many people score themselves a great graduate job pretty quickly. Unfortunately, the competition is getting fiercer every year and the traditional routes to a job can sometimes prove fruitless and frustrating.
Luckily there is another way to get noticed by potential employers. The hidden jobs market is a recent development that marks an alternative way into the working world. The hidden jobs market is defined as roles that are available to be filled at a company, but are not advertised. Startups in particulat are finding they can easily fill roles through a network of friends and acquaintances, as well as with the CVs that they may already have in their database. They cut out the expenses incurred from using job boards and offer referral fees to employees, or simply reach out to likely candidates directly over social media when they spot someone with the right experience.
This makes it both easier and more difficult for the average graduate looking for a route into the industry. It can initially seem demotivating knowing that so many great jobs aren’t advertised at all, but luckily you are reading this blog post, so you are already at an advantage. Knowing how to navigate the hidden jobs market equates to you being a step ahead of the competition, and playing your cards right will mean your CV gets looked at by the right people.
When it comes to startups, the teams are usually made up of a few people. Contacting employers directly is the easiest way to get on their radar. Don’t aim for their head of HR (there might not be one), aim for the CEO. Do a bit of LinkedIn stalking, pick out the key members of the company, and shoot them an email explaining who you are and why you would be a great fit for their company. Contact details not on the website? Usually it will be firstname @ companyname.com - try it, see what happens and if it doesn’t work, then tweak it and try something else. The most important part of this tactic is to thoroughly research the company you are targeting. Assuming you have chosen this company because it genuinely excites you, make sure you get that enthusiasm across in the email – quote an article they wrote recently or pick out key features of their product that you love.
As job boards usually charge a fee to post on, startups may use social media to recruit before going elsewhere. DeliciouslyElla put out a message on her Instagram stories advertising a new position, which just goes to show that you need to be quick to spot the opportunities. Follow the companies you love and be active and engaging across multiple platforms to get your name into their notifications. Make sure your LinkedIn is littered with keywords to make you visible to head-hunters, and fill out your profile page so that it’s easy to absorb your experience in a glance.
Make friends with good recruiters. Hundreds of applicants apply for roles through recruitment agencies every week, so grab their attention and make yourself memorable. While a recruiter will try to find you a job if they have something suitable, it may just be that your name isn’t at the forefront of their mind when a new role comes in. Be proactive about emailing them to let them know that you are still looking for something suitable, and remind them of the information that’s on your CV. Then the next time a great role comes in, they will get in touch (speaking of which – keep your phone on!).
Look up trade fairs and startup events and turn up ready to network. Find the companies you like and just straight-up introduce yourself with confidence. If you make a good impression, then even if they aren’t hiring now, you will have gained a contact in the industry that you are interested in and hopefully given them a reason to get in contact if anything does come up. The best scenario would be that they are seeking someone to join their team and you walked up at just the right moment. At the very least, pick up a business card and follow up with an email to say you enjoyed meeting them (and your CV is conveniently attached).
If you want to be on the front line for jobs, then ultimately you need to be proactive and stop waiting for the opportunity to come to you. Set up Google Alerts targeting the words associated with the type of role you are looking for and your inbox will notify you when something matching pops up. You might not have the time to crawl the web every day searching for something relevant, so this trick will save you a lot of precious time.
Set yourself apart from the rest of the people applying by getting one step ahead. The hidden jobs market is there to be tapped into by the right candidate, so just make sure that candidate is you.