Unlocking the hidden job market

by Aug 14, 2023

Did you know employers don’t publicly advertise all jobs?

While public job boards are the most easily accessible way of seeking work, many roles are filled daily through talent acquisition, backfilling, and referral. This process represents the hidden job market, which you can access through networking, personal branding, and putting yourself out there.

In this blog post, we’ll go over why the hidden job market exists, how to build your network to access it, make a name for yourself through professional branding, and step into new opportunities.

The hidden job market: explained

The hidden job market may seem mysterious, but it describes jobs employers don’t publicly advertise. Check out this quick video explainer from TikToker @erinmcgoff


(life hack: this is how to actually get a job you love 🫶🏼) you got this 👏🏼 #careeradvice #jobsearch #interviewtips

♬ original sound – AdviceWithErin ✨

1. Talent Acquisition

Many organisations proactively seek job candidates with a job opening in mind or to be prepared when a suitable role arises. They may do this through maintaining relationships with recruitment agencies, monitoring online platforms such as LinkedIn, or staying involved with universities or extracurricular professional programs (such as GradConnection’s Top100 Future Leaders Competition).

2. Backfilling

An organisation may prioritise existing employees for new positions, promote internal candidates, and potentially create vacancies in their old roles. This practice leads to a chain reaction known as backfilling, where jobs open at various organisational levels.

3. Referral

Personal recommendations from current employees carry significant weight. Sometimes, hirers might actively ask current employees for recommendations for a role. Other times, when a position becomes vacant, an employee might put forward a referral for a particular candidate. Employers trust referrals because they come with an implicit endorsement of the candidate’s skills and character.

In the hidden job market, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” takes on a new meaning. Building a valuable network can be the key to unlocking these hidden opportunities.

Building your network

Networking is your most powerful tool to putting your name out there and establishing valuable connections. By attending industry events, workshops, and seminars you can meet professionals that could open the pathway to your next job. Online platforms like LinkedIn are also crucial to expanding your digital network.

When networking, try to remain authentic and genuine, show interest in others’ work, and avoid being too pushy about seeking work. If you’re looking for more advice, we have several networking blog posts you can check out, including icebreaker questions to use at events, tips for introverts, and even this post from the archives about how networking can feel like the bachelor.

Also, check out the video below for some tips for networking from TikToker @jeeinyoun to keep in mind.  


uk what they say — ur network is ur net worth 🤧🤧 #networking #internships #jobtip #collegelife #student #corporatelife

♬ original sound – jee

Crafting your professional brand

Personal branding is your unique point of difference in the job market. It’s how you present yourself to potential employers, making a lasting impression by strategically curating your image with an authentic, unique, and professional perception of yourself.

Building a strong personal brand involves uniqueness, professionalism, and showcasing your strengths. Highlight what sets you apart from other candidates. Your individuality can be a major selling point. Maintain a consistent and professional presence across your resume, LinkedIn profile, and any public content you share. And finally, clearly articulate your skills, experiences, and achievements using concrete examples to demonstrate your value.

We also recently explored personal branding through the one and only Harry Styles which you can read here.

Harry styles in red jumpsuit leaping in dance

Master of personal branding, Harry Styles


While the hidden job market might sound challenging, don’t be demoralised. Traditional job boards still have their place. However, you can stand out to employers and potentially unlock new roles by building your network and cultivating a strong professional brand.

Incorporating networking and personal branding into your job search strategy can significantly enhance your chances of finding your dream role. So, embrace the hidden job market, connect with professionals, and let your personal brand shine. Remember, the path to success often lies in the connections you make and the impression you leave behind.


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Amelia Bussing

Amelia Bussing

Communications Assistant

Amelia is a Sydney-based writing and communications enthusiast working at UTS Careers as a Communications Assistant. She is UTS Alumni who studied a Bachelor of Communications (Creative Writing & Advertising), and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. She is passionate about creativity, storytelling, and the art of a well-timed gif, and has a vast collection of crazy socks.