How to find a job that isn’t advertised

Postgraduate students at the University of Surrey

According to some estimates, up to 80% of job opportunities may not be advertised through traditional channels such as jobs boards or company career pages. Here are six different strategies you can use to find jobs that aren’t advertised.

1) Use social media

Many jobs are now advertised via social media channels, so it’s important to establish and maintain a social media presence.

You can follow companies you’re interested in on social media channels including LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You can write insightful comments on posts, or share posts to try to get noticed by smaller companies.

Set up a LinkedIn profile to make contacts within your area of interest and with Surrey alumni from your subject area or who work in your field. You can also join discussion forums and ask for advice.

Connections and opportunities can be found on social media so don’t miss out. But don’t ask for a job outright as this will put people off!

2) Build your network

Networking is ‘the art of people getting to know you’ and can greatly improve your career direction and prospects. Your personal network includes your family, friends, peers and colleagues.

If you have a clear career goal, make sure you share your ideas with your network. You never know what contacts they may have! You can also actively expand your network by talking to tutors, professionals and anyone working in the field.

Don’t worry if you’re not a natural networker – you will improve with practice. Networking is a skill you can master over time.

3) Make speculative approaches

A speculative approach involves contacting a company/organisation even when they are not advertising vacancies. This is a way of informing them of your interest and perhaps catching an unadvertised opportunity.

Your style of approach may depend on the company.

It is worth contacting them first via phone or email and asking whether you can send in your CV; this way you can ask for a named person who should take responsibility for responding to you.

It might be worth checking in with companies you are really interested in on a regular basis, perhaps once every six months. Use your judgement to decide what’s appropriate, or ask for advice from your Surrey Careers Consultant.

4) Create opportunities to grow your network

You could ask for an ‘information interview’ from a professional working in your field of interest. Information interviews are informal meetings where you talk to a professional about their role and the company they work for.

Even though it’s informal, try to make a good impression so they will remember you positively. There may be future vacancies you could be suitable for.

Join SurreyConnects to meet Surrey alumni working in your area of interest. The alumni that have signed up to the platform are keen to help Surrey students and recent graduates start their careers.

Attend careers events, talk to people at careers fairs and departmental sessions. Show an interest in what they do and ask questions.

You can also do insight experiences to help grow your network. You will find these within the jobs section of Surrey Pathfinder.

5) Join specialist recruitment agencies

There may be recruitment agencies for your area of interest. Using an agency is a good addition to your job hunt strategy as they may have access to roles that you don’t find with your own search. But they shouldn’t be used as your only job-seeking strategy.

6) Research your sector

If you know which career area you are aiming for, make sure you’re up to speed with what’s happening in the field. Read the relevant literature/online materials; perhaps there are sector magazines or associations you should become familiar with.

If possible, attend relevant conferences or events that showcase the sector. Not only will you meet people and improve your networking skills, you’ll also enhance your sector knowledge which will always impress at a job interview or informal meeting.

Broadening your knowledge will help you to find out how other people secured their job roles, and how they’ve progressed in their careers.

Creative job seeking requires a proactive and persistent approach

Creative job seeking can seem like hard work, especially when it does not always bring results but perseverance will pay off and has led to success for many job seekers!

For any further advice about how to tackle your job search please book an appointment with your Careers Consultant.

Resources to help you with finding jobs that aren’t advertised