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What You Need to Know About the Hidden Job Market


50% to 70% of all jobs are filled before they’re advertised. 

So that’s over half of all roles.

The “hidden job market” is an umbrella term for all the vacancies that are filled through word of mouth or through a passive approach not similar to the conventional advertising, interviewing and hiring process. In this article, we discuss the best approaches to navigate the hidden job market and steps that you need to take to be able to position yourself for exciting job opportunities.

LinkedIn, Networking and The Word-of-Mouth

One of the ways to navigate the hidden job market is through referrals. Being referred is how most recruiters and managers want to fill their jobs. When you’re referred for a job by a manager or the recruiter themselves, there’s already an element of trust in the making. Because an internal team member’s vote of confidence lies with the person they’ve referred to, this candidate’s going to stand out head and shoulders above people who are just submitting their jobs for a job ad.

Now, how do you get referred? Who’s going to refer you?

Most people land referrals through their professional network. Your professional network or career community includes people you have directly worked with (managers, coworkers), or people you’ve connected with throughout the tenure of your career (association members, industry contacts). One of the top approaches to build this community is to utilise LinkedIn for networking.

Pro Tip

Make sure that you have an up to date and optimised LinkedIn profile before you start connecting with people on LinkedIn.


You can use LinkedIn’s advanced search filters to find people, organisations and even events in your niche to take the first step towards networking. LinkedIn’s filters allow you to research individuals who work in your niche down to the location and specific job titles. In this way, you can send out connection invitations to people who you could build meaningful connections with.


Once you find someone on LinkedIn that you want to connect with, send them an invitation request. Your invitation requests need to be personalised, concise and short. An effective strategy for customising requests is to find an element of commonality – “I see we’re both in the banking industry” or “I see we both went to the same university”. These are just some examples, and the list isn’t necessarily exhaustive. You might come to know someone from the community forum of a technology stack, and you can use that element of commonality too if you want to connect with that person on LinkedIn.


People want to connect with like-minded people and you have to show that you are part of the same community as them. Often, sharing feedback on an article they may have published, or asking a question or simply thanking them for their content can go a long way when initiating a conversation with people you have connected with. The goal is to nurture these relationships, and not be overhasty and come off as a needy individual just looking to make connections for securing a job.

Pro Tip

When you are sending invitation requests or messages, make sure that it's not generic and lengthy. Managers will take one look at that message and rule out any possibilities of replying because they will likely think that you’ve sent out that same message to other people. The best messages on LinkedIn are actually short, sharp, and in a much more conversational style.

Being Headhunted

Being headhunted is basically when a recruiter finds you. This is more of a passive approach as compared to networking. When a recruiter is looking to fill in a position, The first thing that most managers will do is they will ask around to see if anyone knows who can fill the role. They’ll ask their team, they’ll ask the people they know in the industry, they’ll ask their peers and anyone who qualifies as the first point of contact. If these contacts cannot provide a suitable candidate, the next step managers will take is to search for these candidates themselves. The search and find usually happens on LinkedIn, or their internal recruitment CRM or ATS and sometimes in recruitment databases. For enabling recruiters to find you and leaving a great first impression, you must have a keyword optimised and up to date LinkedIn profile with the correct headline, a professional profile picture, the right job titles under your experience section as well as the right skills to match your role. Your CV also needs to be updated and should be consistent with the information on your LinkedIn profile. If you’ve uploaded your CV on recruitment databases, make sure you keep the versions updated aligning with your current roles and experiences, since recruiters are more likely to view recent CVs that have been uploaded in their database than an old CV.

Finding job opportunities is not a one way street. Both recruiters and job seekers are now harnessing the power of the digital world to make job seeking and hiring experiences more robust. In order to succeed, taking a step back, making an achievable career plan as well as equipping yourself with the etiquettes and strategies of networking can help you land interviews with companies you want to work with.

Ben Wood
Ben Wood

Career Coach, CV Writer, CV Writers + ITCV Writers Practice Manager - Tech and Executive Profile Specialist

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