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Get a job that wasn't advertised

by Roy Chambers (follow)
Life Skills (68)      Career (5)     
Some estimates put the percentage of jobs that aren't advertised at 80%. While this is partly a myth because it is not so much about jobs but opportunities, the simple fact is that in a lot of industries, where there are many short-term jobs or high turn over, the companies do not advertise.

Attribution: Flickr - photologue_np

This is why many people will feel that there are simply no jobs in their area. So how do you get a job that is not advertised?

Time: The amount of time varies. One friend found a job this way within two hours, another person was hunting for over three months before they had a job offer.

Appropriate clothes to wear while job hunting
A short resume or portfolio of work

Determine if you are looking for jobs that are not advertised

Every industry has unadvertised jobs, however with certain industries finding these unadvertised jobs can be the only way to find work. Examples include hospitality, cleaning, retail and graphic design.

If you are looking for jobs in these types of industries, you can't wait for anything to be advertised, you have to find the jobs yourself.

Write a short resume (or portfolio)

To apply for jobs that are not advertised you need to be able to hand something over. The best way to do this is with a simple one page resume (two if it is double sided).

Attribution: Flickr - Flazingo Photos

The most import items on your resume will be your contact details and a photograph, but also a quick summary of your experience.

Some people even just create a business card to hand out, because all they need is to remember your face and know your contact details.

For some jobs, your portfolio of work is more important than your resume. So graphic designers or photographers, for example, should have a brief portfolio of their best work to show people.

Research businesses in your area

Google is your friend. Google maps can give you a good listing of all the businesses in your area. Many employers look at the address as the first and foremost criteria. This can be especially true if you don't have car, because it won't matter if you can easily walk or cycle to work.

Draw up a list, because it can take some time to find a job and you might want to return after a month or so to re-approach potential employers.

Dress appropriately

You want to dress in a way that says that you could walk into the job now without having to go home and change. So if you want to a be waiter in a trendy cafe, dress like a waiter in a trendy cafe. If you want to wait in a five star hotel, then you probably want to wear a white shirt and dark pants or trousers. If you are going to be a graphic designer, then dye your hair blue before heading off searching for work. Labouring jobs will go to those dressed in appropriate work wear.

Attribution: Flickr - David Blackwell

Generally though, no matter what job you are going for or how you dress, you at least want to look neat and well presented.

Approach the businesses

There is no one single way to approach businesses. The main issue is to look the part and act professional.

Attribution: Flickr - Sean MacEntee

For small retail and hospitality just turn up and ask for the manager. Then have your resume ready to hand over. Make sure you turn up during the less busy hours of the day. If you turn up at a restaurant during the lunch rush no one will want to even look at you.

For any business with a secretary, make sure you charm that person. Ideally you ask for a manager, but if the secretary doesn't like you there is no chance at all. For graphic designers or other artists, bring your portfolio to show off. Don't be shy in showing your work to the receptionist.

One of the best ways around the common stonewall approach is to do online research to find out who you need talk. Once you know their name, asking to see them by name is much easier. You can often find these details through the company website as well as LinkedIn.

With chains and franchises, first apply online

These businesses can include chain and franchise businesses which have websites through which you have to apply. If you apply in person they will often ask you to apply online, and if you apply online often nothing will happen.

No problem, we can game the system by first applying online, writing down the application number and then you approach the business directly with the application number.


Talk to everyone you know and tell them that you are looking for work. Often high turnover industries will tell their staff if they need anyone.

Attribution: Hans Poldoja

One of the best ways to approach this is not to ask anyone to get you a job, simply ask them "How did you get your job at ....." and not only can they give you real advice but will also realise that you are interested in the job and help you get one.

When you are talking to someone in a business that you are trying to apply for, don't just ask for a job, try asking as well, what they are looking for. Taking a keen interest in that profession can make them take an interest in you. Also if you spend a little more time with them they might even make a recommendation about where to search for work.

Use social media

To access a wider range of opportunities go on social media. I have seen many skilled migrants or recent graduates post questions about finding work on linkedIn groups receive offers for interviews.

But don't forget, you might have hundreds of vague friends on Facebook that you can access and ask about work. You don't have to say "Desperate for a job" just that you are in the market.

Keep trying, don't look back

One of the most common questions people will ask about applying is that, after an interview, should they call back. The answer is almost always "no", you shouldn't be thinking about where you have been, you should instead think about the next opportunity.

Attribution: Flickr - Sean MacEntee

Of course after exhausting all possibilities you can return to some of your favourite jobs.


Some industries with lots of projects or high turn over it can really pay to volunteer or do internships. In the film industry for example, most people start by volunteering on small film. Now if people their liked or respected that person, the next time there is a film project they will be asked back, and maybe even paid.

Attribution: Flickr - Kelly Teague

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