Hidden job market

Not all jobs are advertised

Learn more about the hidden job market and how you can increase your chances of finding a job.

Finding work through job advertisements can be effective, but can limit your opportunities for work as many jobs are not advertised. Apply multiple job search strategies and proactively build your networks by approaching and speaking to employers, recruiters and people working within the industry.


Networking in the job search process is about building relationships with people, and using these relationships to find new career opportunities. It’s never too early to start developing your networking skills to build professional networks for both current and future job opportunities. Networking is a key strategy for tapping into the hidden job market. Here are some networking tips:

1. Be prepared to talk about yourself in an engaging and relevant manner. Have a brief ‘elevator pitch’ ready, and remember that networking is reciprocal – talk about what you can do for them.

2. Building rapport takes time and effort. To be effective, do your research into your target industry and have clear networking objectives. Prepare relevant questions or discussion topics, and build rapport by encouraging the other person to talk about themselves.

3. One way to build your professional network is to start with people you already know and ask them to introduce you to their relevant contacts. You can add to this network by approaching people in professional associations, organisations of interest, business councils, relevant conferences, previous places of employment and through academics. Careers Fairs and Employer Presentations and other career events on campus also offer opportunities for networking.

4. If you’re from another culture or country, ensure you’re aware of the culturally acceptable ways of networking in Australia. Observe others or seek out a mentor who can provide feedback.

5. Always follow up with a thank you note or email, and consider sharing an article of interest that could benefit the other person to thank them for their time.

Directly approaching employers

You can be proactive and approach employers directly, even when they aren't advertising a vacancy.

  • Have a well-developed idea: be clear about what kind of industry you would like to work in, the sort of jobs you are seeking and what you seek in an employer to help you target your job search in the hidden job market.
  • Choose your method of contact: whether to approach via phone, email, or in-person will depend on the size and type of organisation, the culture of the industry and your comfort level with different communication options. 
  • Do your research: find out everything you can about any organisations and potential roles with them before you approach employers. Sources of information include industry publications, professional associations, the University Library's resource guide for researching organisations and industries, organisations' websites and annual reports, as well as information from the press using databases such as Factiva.
  • Write a speculative application: prepare a resume and cover letter and tailor both of these to each organisation, demonstrating your research and awareness of how you could fit. Find out to whom you should address your enquiry. Follow up with a phone call a week or two afterwards if you haven’t heard anything from the organisation. This will also show you are serious and motivated.

Information interviewing

Information interviewing involves applying your networking skills to research careers and professional pathways. Interviewing people working in roles or in organisations of interest to you can provide key information to help you with your career decisions and job search strategies. It is also a valuable way to build networks within a targeted industry and gain confidence with professional networking.