Other ways to find a job

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023, 13:23

For a variety of reasons, you may miss out on some jobs on your job search as many companies do not always advertise the positions, they have available. Here are some tips for taking your job hunt up a notch by penetrating the ‘hidden’ jobs market and getting ahead of the competition when it comes to graduate jobs.

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One of the biggest challenges for HR departments when it comes to advertising jobs is dealing with the sheer number of applications they are likely to get. Of course, it depends on the medium for advertising. gradireland.com, for example, charges for listings on the site, and has a proven track record of delivering relevant candidates to our clients.

But companies have a lot of options these days, including social media and free jobs boards when it comes to posting employment opportunities. In addition to dealing with the sheer number of applications that postings on free sites can generate, the overwhelming majority of these applications are not relevant to the position, leaving recruiters wasting time screening most of the applicants.

Of course, social media means that companies can approach potential candidates directly without having to advertise the position; platforms like LinkedIn make it straightforward, and time and cost effective, to screen candidates. In fact, social media can be the key when it comes to penetrating the hidden jobs market.

Here are some straightforward tips:

Get involved and be active

Build your network online by joint industry-related groups and associations. These are a great way of building contacts within the area in which you wish to work. But you’ll need to do more than just join these groups, you’ll need to be an active participant and establish yourself as a source of information. Share articles that highlight your areas of interest and also your skills with those in the group. If they have an opening in a related area, when the time comes, they may get in contact with you.

Of course, you don’t have to limit this activity to the virtual world: local business groups and chambers of commerce can be great ways of making personal contacts and connections.

Ask questions:

Nobody minds answering a polite question, so try to talk to people working within the industry that you’re interested in. They could give you a heads up on future job opportunities, or perhaps even put you in contact with a potential employer.

Speculative applications:

If you’re targeting a particular employer, make sure you check their site for any job opportunities that they might not yet have advertised externally. Companies also use internal referral systems, so don’t need to advertise. That’s why a speculative, well-written and well-timed application can yield results.

Now that we mentioned speculative applications, this doesn’t mean firing off generic applications to dozens of companies. The good news is that speculative applications are common and accepted, but they need to be well researched and addressed to the right person. It’s ok to follow up with one phone call too, but know the limits – ‘no thank you’ means just that!

Get your foot in the door:

With so many companies now offering internship programmes, there are more chances than ever of being able to get your foot in the door. But some sectors are still tough to break into, so consider asking to help out in the office for a day or two, a week or perhaps see if they can refer you to someone else in the industry that may have an opening. Again, nobody minds polite enquiries, but make sure you don’t exceed this, as it’s sure to lead to closing doors rather than opening them.


Make contact with someone from your target industry from whom you can get advice and any tips of what jobs could be areas of opportunity within the sector. Remember to be grateful and considerate when asking other people for their time.

Voluntary work:

This shows initiative, forward-thinking and a ‘can-do’ attitude. It can be a great way of breaking into your chosen career area, particularly if it’s an area where there’s a lot of competition.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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