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How Employers Find New Employees
Approximately 80% of jobs never get listed at all! Why is that? For employers, the
job-posting process can be frustrating, time- consuming, and unreliable. It is a
lot of work to sort through stacks of resumes, call up candidates, and do interviews—and
this doesn’t always produce the best hire. So many employers try to avoid it that
This 80% of unadvertised jobs is called the "hidden job market". So how
do they hire? According to Richard Bolles, in What Color is Your Parachute?, employers
typically hire in this order:
- From within — this method is the most reliable as the employer
has personally seen the candidate in action. What this means to you? Consider temporary
employment agencies, volunteer, and part-time opportunities, which can
lead to full-time work.
- A job hunter who offers proof — this method shows the employer
something concrete they can judge for themselves. Develop a portfolio of relevant
work including things like computer programs you've written or websites created,
writing samples, or designs. Bring your portfolio to your interviews and networking
meetings. To get started learn about options for creating a portfolio and read books like The Career
Portfolio Workbook or Designing a Digital Portfolio.
- From a referral — Employers also hire people who a trusted friend
or colleague can vouch for. Although they are depending on someone else’s opinion,
it is a trusted opinion. Try to get to know the people who can influence people
with the power to hire. For help, read up on Networking, and Job Fairs & Info Sessions.
- Screened applicants from agencies and search firms — through this
method, the employer is saved the trouble of locating and interviewing candidates.
If you're thinking of using employment agencies, be aware that their main
client is the employer, and not you. Talk to industry insiders to discover how useful
search firms are in the hiring process for your field, and for someone with your
level of experience.
- From a job posting or resume — In this method the employer hires
someone they found through a resume, sent in response to a job posting or unsolicited.
This is the employers's LEAST favorite method! Use job postings to apply for jobs that you have a decent
chance at getting, and put extra work into targeting your application.
How Should I Start?
Before you start looking for work, you need to know what type of work you are looking
for! Think about your immediate needs (like how much money you need and how much
time you have to spare), what type of work you are qualified for and what you would
enjoy. For help thinking about your skills and interests, visit the Choosing a Career guide in My Career. This
assessment will also help you later in the search when you are explaining your relevant
skills and experiences to employers. Once you get focused, you can start your work
Develop a plan of action
Depending on what kind of work you want, and how much time you have to look, this
plan can vary greatly. Try to come up with realistic weekly goals based on the time
you have available. For example, you could aim to apply to five postings per week
and make five new contacts through research and networking. These numbers will depend
on how much time and energy you can devote to the search, and how urgent it is that
you land a job.
Next, track your activities to ensure you are working efficiently towards meeting
your goals. You may want to meet with a career counsellor to discuss your plan.
Develop marketing materials
Resumes, cover letters, and interview skills are your key tools for marketing yourself
to potential employers. To get started, visit the Networking, Resumes, Interviews &
Applications guide in My Career.
What if I’m Underqualified?
Who doesn't want that job at the top of the ladder? You may want a job for which
you are not yet qualified. Research the qualifications through job postings, library
resources, and information interviews. If you were able to land an interview but
did not get the job, ask the employer what would make you a more attractive candidate.
This often takes the form of volunteering, internships, temporary jobs, entry-level
work, professional development courses or education. To learn more, read up on Getting Experience and Getting More Education.