Eighty percent of job vacancies are not advertised on job search portals – this is the hidden market that we are all aware of. The key lies in how to source this market with so many opportunities. There are two main strategies: spontaneous applications and long-term networking.
STRATEGY 1: SPONTANEOUS APPLICATIONS
The first step in this process is based on the important premise that, for each of us, there is a part of the labour market that is more receptive to our potential contributions, and a part that –for better or for worse– is immune to our charms. Our ability to differentiate between these two segments is essential to ensuring that the job search if effective.
Once the appropriate market segment has been identified, it is essential to carefully select the receiver of your candidature. Ask yourself these questions to determine who to address your documents to: Who will understand your value proposition better, the HR Department or the business area related to the position? With which of the two areas do you share more common ground? Which will more readily perceive that your candidature is suited to what they are looking for?
STRATEGY 2: CREATING LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS
The second –and in my opinion, the most important– strategy involves developing personal contacts, or networking. This strategy is based on the idea that companies hire people they trust. In fact, this is what we do in all facets of our lives: we consult with those we trust before choosing a restaurant, renting a vacation home or buying a new car. The same is true at work.
It is worth noting that networking is not a sprint, but a long distance race, whereby you gradually weave a tapestry of relationships, which may one day generate opportunities. Effective networking is a matter of establishing long-term relationships to the mutual benefit of both parties.
The problem is that all too often we only resort to networking when we need it –in other words, when we are unemployed–, which is precisely when it is most difficult to build professional relationships. These relationships are difficult to build for two reasons: limited opportunities to make new contacts and the pressure to find new employment. When we are not working, we are unable to initiate new relationships with customers, suppliers or partners, which limits our capacity to expand our group of contacts. At the same time, we feel pressure to find new opportunities, which can make us act in ways that are not always strategic. Networking entails initiating, establishing and consolidating relationships on a low flame, with care and attention, perseverance and generosity.
We must also be aware that to build a solid network of professional contacts proactively, we need to step outside of our comfort zone, creating relationships with people that we do not know and that do not know us. This is understandably easier if we already have something in common, which is why I recommend reaching out to EADA classmates and alumni. We can start by identifying the people we would like to get to know in the EADA alumni community, while at the same time being open and receptive to new contacts that approach you in a similar way.
Only with an open, constructive and generous spirit can we consolidate a network that is strong enough to provide the exchange of knowledge and, who knows, maybe a business opportunity or two.