Navigating the Hidden Job Market for Newcomers to Canada
Now that you’ve arrived in Canada and are searching for your first job, take advantage of the many resources available to you. These include job boards, newspapers, company websites, employment centres, and recruitment agencies. However, these sources only represent only a small portion of vacant jobs in the economy at any time. The majority of jobs are never advertised. This is known as the “hidden job market,” and successfully navigating it can make a huge difference in finding the best job for you.
What is the Hidden Job Market?
These are vacant jobs that are never advertised. According to numerous estimates, the hidden job market accounts for as many as 70-80% of vacant jobs. How is this possible? Because employers use different methods to fill vacancies. Job boards and advertisements are only two of them, and many use these resources only as a last resort.
How do Employers Use the Hidden Job Market?
The hidden job market is designed to serve employers, so it’s primarily inaccessible to job seekers. Using job boards and running advertisements cost money, so employers prefer to fill jobs without using them. They’ll use the hidden job market by leveraging networks such as employees, customers, suppliers, friends, and acquaintances who then reach out to their networks. This provides the employer with a great talent pool from which to select the right employee. Additionally, employees often receive a referral for successfully recommending a candidate. It’s a win-win situation for employers as well because a referral from an employee they know and trust is less risky and time-consuming than hiring someone outside the network.
As a Job Seeker, How Can You Access the Hidden Job Market?
The best to access the hidden job market is to reach out to everyone you know through volunteering, friends, family, schools, associations, immigrant-serving organizations, non-profits, and charities. Chances are, someone knows about an unadvertised job. Reach out to them for advice, assistance, or a referral.
Keep in mind that referrals aren’t enough. Regardless of who recommends you, you still need to do your due diligence, have a stellar resume and cover letter, and make the best impression at interviews.
Use an online networking platform
Platforms like Immigrant Networks have several benefits. Here are the most important:
1. Tap into the hidden job market for your profession.
It allows you to start building a group of individuals like yourself (immigrants or students) who have walked the walk and know the tricks and pitfalls. If they have been in Canada for some time, they will also know the hidden job market well and how you can tap into this.
2. Build presentation skills & confidence.
By having several conversations regularly, this practice will help you improve your presentation skills and build your confidence for online interviews.
3. Learn the power of peer-to-peer networking.
You will come across several professionals who may not have a formal mentorship relationship with you but will be keen to see you succeed by volunteering professional contacts and services that can help you enormously.
4. Finding your Plan B profession.
Several newcomers struggle with credential recognition. Many have succeed by using their transferable skills to either become entrepreneurs or enter an allied field. Who better to talk to about your own Plan B than someone who’s been there and done that!
5. Get help with your cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile.
When you connect with professionals from your field who have been in Canada for years, you can get insights into improving your applications. These insights come about only through experience and you get to tap into this expertise.
How to use these networks.
1. Treat these meetings as a learning experience. Dress smart, present yourself like you would if you were on an online interview.
2. Ask questions, do not dominate the conversation. Show interest in the other person, remember you are here as much to learn and then share!
3. A cardinal mistake people make is ask for something the moment they meet someone. That is a no-no in networking. First offer something of value to the other person, and then ask for help that is equal to what you offer.
Lastly, respect, etiquette and politeness go a long way in building relationships.
The End Goal
Using these tips will help you open the door to the hidden job market and find the best position for you.
The hidden job is “hidden” for a reason, but with determination, creativity, and the help of professionals, your next job could be one that was never advertised.