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Career Center » Finding the Right Job » Understanding the Hidden Job Market


Despite the large number of jobs advertised on past analysis has demonstrated that roughly 75 per cent of expat jobs are never advertised.  However, the hidden world of job opportunities can be accessed by word of mouth, cold calling or submitting an unsolicited job application.

With jobs that are not advertised, being in the right place at the right time is often crucial. This is however exceptionally difficult for those seeking employment abroad.

Do your homework

Attempt to ascertain the name of the person you should call. Generally that person works in the Human Resources (HR) department. A search of the company's website should point you in the right direction otherwise you can call the company's switchboard.

Research the company prior to making the call and almost consider time differences! Is it large or small organization? Does it have branch offices? What are its strongest products; in what areas is it weak?

Remember to practice. When you finally get through to HR, ensure you know what you want to say and you do so clearly and confidently. What type of job / position are you searching for? In what division, department or asset? What experience have you had? Most importantly - what can you offer the company?

Make a note of your answers and have these in front of you when you make the call. You may only get a minute or two, so ensure you make a good impression.

Cold calling
It may be a company you've read about and thought, "I'd like to work there", or it may be a company with values closely aligned to your own. However, you never see available positions being advertised.

It's time to pick up the phone and scout for a job. Some of us have phone phobia at the best of times, so this approach certainly requires confidence. Take a deep breath and go for it.

Get past the gatekeepers

Personal Assistants (PAs), Technical Assistants (TAs) or secretaries can help or hinder you depending on how you handle them. Be polite and courteous to the Assistance but never ‘suck up’. PAs are frequently trained to screen calls like yours. Speaking to them confidently, as if you have the right to talk to their boss, can help.

For example: "Good Morning, this is Charlie Sheen. Katy Perry from marketing suggested I speak to Chris regarding a recruitment matter."

What to say next

OK, your call has been put through. Speak clearly and confidently. Your pitch may go something like this. "Hi, Chris, my name is Charlie Sheen. I am calling about potential opportunities within the oil and gas engineering department - is this a good time to speak to you?"

If it isn't then suggest another time: "Okay, if I was to call back at 11.30am is it likely to be a more suitable time?"

Acting confidently and committing them on a time to speak is imperative. Request their direct extension and ring back at the appointed time.

The pitch
Keep it short, sharp and packed with the correct information. That information should include your name, where you are calling from, why you are calling and what you want from them (that is, a job, a meeting to discuss vacancies etc.)

For example: "Hi, Chris. My name is Charlie. I am currently a petroleum engineer for British Petroleum in Houston. I have noticed you have been completing a lot of seismic activity in the Gulf of Mexico and as such I was wondering if, on the back of this activity, you are expanding your oil and gas engineering department. I would love to have the opportunity to meet you and discuss any possible vacancies that may suit my qualifications and extensive experience."

If the answer is no, ask if you can send your resume / Curriculum Vitae (CV) or email your contact details, in case something arises in the future. When sending the email you may also wish to mention that providing it is fine with them you will send an occasional update via email. This will help with ensuring you are remembered and therefore considered when a new position does arise. Ensure your emails are concise and not too frequent.

If the answer is yes, then lock down a time that week or early the next week and treat the meeting like a job interview. Bring your resume / CV and, if relevant, examples of your work.

Keep a record of all the calls you have made and their responses. Make a note in your diary if they say, "There's nothing now, but call us back in six months."

This is a more targeted method of job hunting. It is popular with companies that rely on employees to bring in new talent. It is typically cheaper to recruit this way as opposed to placing jobs ads or searching through a recruitment firm.

Ask friends and contacts if there are any vacancies at their company or at friends' companies. If so, you may find your name being submitted at a higher level than if you were applying for a job advertised in the paper.

Within the expatriate, management and executive community networking is one of the most effective means of finding employment.

Despite the fact that over 75 per cent of jobs are not advertised we have the largest database of expat jobs no matter where you are from or what industry you work in - From the mining industry in Australia, to the health care industry in the Unites States, to the Oil and Gas (petroleum) industry in Brazil or the accounting industry in the United Kingdom. Why not commence applying today?