Blue icebergs in the sea

Most vacancies aren’t filled as a result advertising, and instead employers use range recruitment methods which collectively make up what is known as the "invisible market". The invisible market includes:

  • recruitment agencies - employers recruit staff by asking agencies to search their files for suitable candidates
  • files of previous applicants - employers look back through their files previous applicants including people who have sent unsolicited CVs
  • LinkedIn - suitable candidates might be on LinkedIn. 

Tackling the invisible market is a better way to get your foot on the ladder, as there is less competition, however it does take time and effort and we'll dedicate this blog to ways in which you can access the invisible jobs market. 

Before you tackle the invisible jobs market, you’ll need to decide on the companies you wish to work for. This involves getting a better understanding of the industry you are in, the key players and the job role you would like within that industry. However you can target a lot of companies (even as many as a hundred) as it’s unlikely that very many will have the specific opening you are looking for. 

Systematic cold calling

Phoning up selected employers to see if they have anything suitable for you is one easy proactive method of accessing invisible jobs market. You'll need to:

  • Identify the right organisations - those that are likely to have jobs in your area.
  • Speak to right person - this means getting hold of a decision maker
  • Keep the call brief - explain quickly who you are, where you’re coming from and what you are seeking to achieve. Ask if there is any thing suitable at moment. If yes, ask them what to do next, if no, thank them in way enables you to ring them another time. 
  • Keep record of your calls. This includes the name of the person you spoke to, date and anything interesting you picked up along the way.
  • Work out a call cycle of who you are going to call frequently and who less often.
  • Score your calls between 0 and 5. 5s are employers who are worth keeping in touch with regularly, whilst 0s are employers who gave you hard time. Identify organisations that are worth ringing every 3 months or so against these may warrant calls only occasionally.

If you keep doing this you'll get a snapshot of what the companies you are looking at are doing and eventually a detailed picture of your target organisations. Over time you'll hopefully have to make fewer, more targeted calls, and sooner or later start connect with good opportunities.


Another way to access the invisible jobs market is to send copy your CV as a mailshot to selected employers to see what opportunities they have. Here’s the way go about it:

  1. Identify the right organisations - those that are likely to have jobs in your area.
  2. Phone first - to find out the name of the person who needs to be sent the mailshot.
  3. Compose a cover letter. 
  4. Mark it as ‘confidential’ - best way ensure right person opens it.

The aim of a mailshot is to you connect with the right opportunity, or if one is not available, to get your CV filed in a place where it will be revisited when an opportunity comes up next. 


Getting your name on the books of the right agencies is another excellent way to access the invisible market. Good agencies can use their know-how and contacts to help you access the right opportunities. Here's a few things you need to know:

  1. Pick the right ones - those that have opportunities in your field.
  2. Make sure they understand you. Tell them you are seeking to make a career change and not just jobs in your current career.
  3. Keep in contact - ring chosen agencies from time to time, especially when you have not heard from them. Not only will you remind them you are still there, but you might also pick up some interesting feedback on why you are having  no luck finding the right opening for you. Is it that what you are looking for is unrealistic or is the  agency not very good?

Professional networking

By far best way accessing career-change opportunities is through networking and there are numerous ways to go about this. Networking can help you:

  • Access the invisible jobs market perhaps via jobs that haven't been advertised yet.
  • Contacts can vouch for you and let people know that you are good employee.
  • You can help friends/colleagues out and they'll also help you out.

Volunteering and/or work experience

As companies will often reach out to internal applicants before or as well as interviewing external applicants, it’s often the case that being in work in the company already can give you a major advantage. One way of becoming part of their team is through voluntary work, work shadowing or temping. This way, you’ll be aware of when all new roles come up within the company, and you’ll also have known colleagues who can vouch for your working personality and fit.{eluceoshare}

News alerts & social media

By following companies that you are interested in on LinkedIn, Facebook or via Google Alerts, you’ll be the first to know about their news. This might specifically include that they are hiring, but also other information of interest, such as mergers, or the opening of a new office, which could help you to be the first in line for a job. 

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