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Finding a job is not simply a matter of going online and checking out the situations vacant. The majority of opportunities are not advertised first. Instead they are found in what is referred to as the Invisible Job Market. 

The invisible (or hidden) job market refers not only to non-advertised vacancies but also to opportunities for work that are not yet defined as jobs – these could be a new area of work for a business or skill gap that has not been highlighted yet.  But how do you look for something that is, by definition, invisible?

Here are some practical ideas and tips for discovering hidden opportunities and vacancies.

Tap into your circle of contacts

Employers are more likely to hire through their extended networks first, so your first move is to tap into your immediate and extended circle of contacts. Tell family, friends and other people you know about your job aspirations. If they are aware of what you are looking for they can put your name forward when they hear of an opportunity that sounds like a good fit for you.


Before the internet, job seekers had get out and talk to people face to face to find work. You literally pounded the pavement going from business to business, knocking on doors to develop leads for job opportunities. Cold calling is not easy though – you are better to try networking to find new opportunities. Find ways to get out and meet people in the business community or with links to the type of work you want to do, and talk about what you are looking for, what you do well, and how your strengths could bring value to a business.

Proactively research companies and industries

The more you know about a company or industry you are interested in, the better your chances of positioning yourself well when an opportunity comes along. Company prospectuses, information about the business and its key personnel on its website and in the press or industry publications, community projects or charity events they are involved in – all these things can help you understand their business values and what they might be looking for in a team member.

Set up an informational interview

If you have met a strong connection through your networking efforts and they have given you their card, you have a good chance of them agreeing to an informal meeting, or informational interview.

An informational interview is not about asking someone directly for a job. It is about suggesting a short meeting to receive some advice, information and the benefit of someone’s experience. That way, even if they are not in a position to recruit you, they can still feel able to help by giving you some constructive advice.

Careers Workshops and Open Days

If you get an opportunity to visit a place of business during an open day or meet company representatives at a careers workshop or event, you can use this as a way to gain valuable insights and make a positive impression. Trade fairs are also a good way to scope out potential employers, so long as you are mindful of why they are there and you are not keeping the team working on the business stand from doing their job.

Keep in contact

As you build up your network of contacts, it is important to follow up with a quick hello to remind them who you are and what you spoke about and to thank them for their time/advice. Ask if they are happy for you to make contact again. You may also wish to touch base with people you have connected with from time to time, to see if anything has changed since last time you spoke, and to update them on how you are getting on with your job hunting or career pathway.

You can learn more about how to access the Invisible Job Market at the next CareeerWise Job Seekers Workshop. Click here to request information and workshop dates