• Sarah Grötzinger

Dream Jobs aren't published on notice boards (mostly!)

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

Did you know that only 25-35% of all jobs out there in Germany are advertised on jobboards and career websites?



Therefore, if sending out direct applications to jobs you find on jobboards is your only strategy, you are competing for these limited opportunities with everyone else who is using this strategy.

To stick out of the crowd and access the remaining 65-75% of jobs, there is no way around a strategy to access that hidden jobmarket. In this article I will explore for you:

  • What is the Hidden Job Market and why are jobs "hidden"?

  • Reasons why you need to go for those hidden jobs

  • Strategies to access the Hidden Jobmarket

What on earth is this Hidden Jobmarket?

Simply said, the Hidden Jobmarket comprises all career opportunities that you can not find on public jobboards and career websites. But why are the jobs not advertised?

There are multiple reasons for that:

Public jobboards are costly and do not guarantee success to fill the job. In a worst-case scenario, a recruiter receives 200 applications after publishing a job, has to go through them and then finds out that zero of them are a match. So many recruiters have long reached the conclusion, that "posting & praying" for the right candidate to come is not a reliable strategy to fill a position.

Positions that are being filled through referrals and word of mouth also reduce the number of wrong decisions in the hiring process, because both, candidate and company have been able to get to know each other on a less formal basis.

Furthermore, all companies have to deal with varying amounts of fluctuation because of job change, illness etc. or are simply in a phase of rapid growth. The time to fill a job through advertising is estimated to take between 6-12 weeks, which in some cases is too long. If you as a potential candidate are already known to your dream company during such a phase, you might receive a job offer within days.

If this does not make it obvious to you yet, why you definitely need a strategy to access these opportunities, let me give you some further reasons:

  • Less competition: While the others are still busy sending their CVs & cover letters out together with 200 other applicants, you are going for jobs where in some cases your are the only candidate!

  • Direct access to managers: You can directly target your future boss with this strategy and thus, skip the initial HR selection. Often you are also not expected to send a cover letter along with you CV, because everything you would put in there has already been discussed. Just imagine how much time and nerves that will safe, if you do not have to write targeted cover letters.

  • Broader reach: By not only focussing on jobs that are advertised, you might suddenly dare to target your real dream companies, even if they do not have any matching jobs on their career website at the moment.

I do hope that this was enough to convince you that you really need to do more than sending out applications to advertised jobs to really access your dream job.

What can you do to access this Hidden Jobmarket?

There are actually so many different ways to do this, so I would suggest to start with the simplest one.

Make use of the network you already have

You have probably heard this several times, but have you actually done it? I mean really?

How many people in your family and circle of friends know EXACTLY what kind of jobs you are looking for and what qualifies you to do it? I'm sure there will be some, but I'm also sure there could be more. Arrange some meetings and calls with them and make sure to tell them. Send out WhatsApps, E-Mails, LinkedIn messages to your wider network to check on them and let them know what exactly you are looking for. Ask them to make connections or introductions for you.

Which friends do you have who work in bigger companies you are interested in? Ask them to scroll the internal jobboard for you. While companies are not required to publish their jobs externally, all companies with a works council are required to do so internally. And most of them also have a referral scheme in place that will reward you friend for recommending you - so both of you win.

As a basis for other strategies, create a list of 10-20 dream companies that you would be excited to work for. I will tell you what to do with it in a few seconds.

Use social media to the fullest

Your social media strategy always starts with a great online profile, ideally on LinkedIn and XING. Having a good profile that tells your profile visitors exactly what you do, about your core achievements, tasks you have performed, courses you have taken and ideally has some images on it and recommendations is worth so much. And: Make sure to upload your CV.

Firstly, you are much more likely to be found by recruiters, sourcers or headhunters, which gives you passive access to the hidden job market.

Secondly, you need it as a basis for your online networking strategy. A good online profile creates trust and it will be much more likely that your connection requests will be accepted.

Once you have a great profile, start expanding your network with relevant connections in your field. Connect to some industry experts and thought leaders and then get out your list of dream companies. Start to connect to people working in these companies on a daily basis. Try to identify your future boss and people you would most likely be in the same team with as well as some recruiters and simply hit "connect" - no message needed at this stage. I'm sure you can easily manage 10 new connections daily.

When they accept, send out a friendly message to welcome them in your network. Just say thank you for connecting and wish them a nice day or week - no pitch, no "I need help". You are only just warming up the relationship - so take it easy.

If your new connections are active content creators that is great for you. Add some likes and value adding comments to their posts and reach out to them with a direct message 2-3 days later.

If they are less active LinkedIn users, skip the likes & comments and start with the message part. Keep it short and simple, find something you have in common on their profile and try to get into an informal conversation via phone or video call. The goal here is to learn more about their companies and gain their trust so they are happy to make a referral once they know you better.

Never ask for a referral before actually speaking to someone. People need to know and trust you first before they are willing to help you. After all, their own reputation is at stake here, too.

Make it your goal to send out 5 networking messages per day for good results and ignore the people who do not respond.

Make sure to be found on Google

A lot of sourcers use Google for sourcing candidates. So apart from your LinkedIn and XING profiles, make sure that you can be found in other places, too.

Here are some ideas:

  • Create your own website or blog

  • Become an active content creator on LinkedIn and include a few LinkedIn articles

  • Add your CV to a place you are able to share, e.g. Google Drive and add the link to your instagram and Facebook bio

  • Come up with your own creative ideas!

I hope I was able to make you see that a multiple strategy is key to securing an offer at your dream company and that there are ways to do this that are easier than sending out tons of targeted applications and even fun.

These strategies will not guarantee overnight success, but you will be surprised at the opportunities that will keep flowing your way if you keep following them.

Stay positive and motivated and keep your thoughts fixed on your goal!


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