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Chris Targett
10 February 2017

There have been several articles over the years regarding the hidden job market, including an article by Ruth Winden in a recent edition of the Career Development Institute’s magazine for professionals, Career Matters. Within the article Ruth explores the importance of job seekers accessing the hidden job market via networking to improve their chances, as “referral based recruitment is on the up”. Recruitment is also expensive for employers, with evidence pointing to staff who are referred, who are more likely to “be a better cultural fit, become productive faster, and stay longer in their jobs than those being recruited through other methods”[i]

This led me to considering what this might mean for our clients we work with across schools, colleges and in the community. One of the key points in the article references “encouraging clients to think longer-term and become confident in connecting with like-minded professionals” as well as making use of their own networks and resources to find and create opportunities – this networking and the importance of developing the skills to do this, is the big message we can take away. Accessing opportunities via this “six degrees of separation” requires helping our clients to be prepared for what they wish to pursue. Importantly, we need to help them in developing their self-confidence, curiosity and determination. It is these career management qualities, recently evidenced within the Career Adapt-ability framework by Professor Jenny Bimrose[ii] and associates, which we can begin to focus on developing with our clients.

It is crucial that we don’t wait to help a client develop their networks and qualities until they are actively job hunting. Whether they are in Post 16 education seeking a school leaver scheme or an apprenticeship, in University seeking graduate opportunities or made redundant and seeking work. We need to ensure this focus happens earlier in school, exploring with clients how to develop and maintain networks, develop and practice communication skills and the different ways networks can be accessed, such as online via social media but also at corporate events and through day-to-day dealings in life - ultimately positive communication and relationship skills. We can help our clients explore the networks they have, to identify and discover the tools at their own disposal and how they can increase their chances of being in the right place at the right time, to speak to the right person and in doing so, increase their luck.

In schools and colleges, independent careers guidance professionals can work hand-in-hand with those employed by schools and colleges as career coordinators, to develop strong careers education programmes to help clients to build their own efficacy and career readiness. If we as educationalists, leave it until it is too late, clients have far less time and support to build their strategies, develop their skills, raise their understanding of opportunities and take time to become more self-aware. Career readiness isn’t just about knowing swathes of information, achieving specific qualifications you will need for a single job or sector, or having a wide range of skills to utilise. It is about being ready and able to swim in the difficult currents; being flexible and able to reach out to others who can help you through the choppy waters and in turn, who you can help and support.

[i] Ruth Winden, The ‘Hidden’ job market – How to make it work for your clients, Career Matters, June 2016.


Written by: Chris Targett

This article was first published on the CXK blog on Monday 17th October 2016

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