19 Nov 2019
How to get a non-existent job
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Before you race to enter the highly-competitive hidden job market, here’s how you should consider a potentially more rewarding approach.
Want to be in control of choosing your employer and the work that you will carry out? Frankly, who wouldn’t?
Well, there is a way. But first, it’s important to understand a few definitions.
You will certainly have heard by now of the classification of two types of job markets, the published job market and the so-called invisible or hidden job market.
The first is obvious, the jobs on job search websites and LinkedIn, and so on.
Most job openings are invisible
But what about the jobs that are not publicly announced? The invisible job market?
The reasons why a job opening may not be openly publicised are well-known within the executive search industry. A company may want to find the right match through referrals, or maybe the position is a sensitive one, so requires the utmost discretion. Or the employer may prefer to use a recruitment agency in order to tap into their talent pool.
Since an estimated 80% of hires take place through the hidden job market, no wonder job seekers are so interested in finding ways to unlock this seemingly huge potential.
You will often hear that the best way to do this is to ‘activate your network’, ‘update your social media profiles using sought-after keywords’, ‘join alumni associations’, ‘contact recruiters’, and so on.
All this advice is sound and you should definitely ensure that your CV is fit-for-purpose, that you take control of your social media reputation, and get in touch with leading executive search firms to increase your chances of finding hidden gems.
In the end, however, whether you are searching through the visible or the invisible job market, this does not make a big difference in terms of choice. In both scenarios, you are taking the off-the-shelf opportunity that the employer had already decided to offer, and you have little margin for manoeuvre. There is, however, an alternative, the so-called ‘non-existent’ job.
What is a non-existent job?
Think about it. Whether a company has openly announced a vacancy or they are trying to fill it by word of mouth, all the prerequisites have already been decided beforehand. The tasks, the level of seniority, the qualifications of the ideal candidate, the salary and benefits range, the title.
Your options are two-fold: you can only get what is on offer, by whoever is making the offer, or not.
What if, however, you could select your employer and determine the work you would do for them?
That’s the non-existent job market.
You may hear this term most commonly in connection with how to prepare the young graduates of today for the jobs of tomorrow that have not yet been created.
However, the non-existent job market does not need to go that far. These are the jobs that do not exist today but may be created tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or even in a month from now.
Why should you try to tap into this job market? Because it puts you in the driver’s seat and it does not simply reveal to you what is on offer.
How to crack the non-existing job market
Breaking through the non-existing job market may give you control of your choices, but it also means you have to be very well-prepared.
Our advice is: start with an action plan and stick to it!
Step 1: Select the companies you love
Make a list of the companies that make you think “I want to work there”. The ones whose products, services or purpose and strategic vision you are really passionate about. Now ask yourself the question: “Why is this the ‘one’?” and be honest with yourself in your responses. You need to have a deep understanding of the company you want to work for, their culture, their challenges. If you can showcase how you can be useful to them, they will think of you when the time comes and before a position is even open.
Step 2: Preparation, preparation, preparation
In case it is not clear, preparation is key. Why? Because you will only have one opportunity to impress! Now is the time to review your CV, your LinkedIn profile and your online presence in general. Think of the qualifications and qualities that you want to emphasize as well as the different job options that interest you. Then ensure that the skills and competencies that you affirm match your job aspirations.
Step 3: Find out who to talk to
After identifying a few companies, you need to see who you should be contacting.
Let us go back to the type of advice given when trying to access the invisible job market, “activate your network”. While you may be able to access your target person through your network, you need to first discover the relays you need to activate in order to reach those people. In other words, you need to prioritise based on your needs.
First, understand who the people in your network really are. Some of your contacts may have retired or switched to an industry that does not interest you. Make a list of all those people you have been in contact with throughout your career.
Remember, be pragmatic: out of a wide range of people on your list, who are the ones with the right connections through which you can access your target people?
This will help you understand how to approach your past contacts when you reconnect with them. It should go without saying that your first words to your old contacts should not be “Can you please help me reach X person?”.
While applying for a position that has not yet been created may seem counter-intuitive, when done properly it can lead you to a fulfilling career. One that you have effectively selected for yourself.
If you need help in your preparation and you are wondering how to interact with your target people, or if you would like to know more about the subject, please do not hesitate to reach out.