How to find hidden vacancies


With an average of 17 applicants per advertised job vacancy, competition for jobs can be fierce...

The good news is that one fifth of jobs aren't formally advertised1. These roles are filled through word of mouth, signs in shop windows or by employers approaching job seekers directly. These jobs are sometimes called ‘hidden’ job vacancies.

A big advantage to accessing these ‘hidden’ jobs is that there is usually less competition for jobs so your chances of scoring the role are improved.

So if you are only searching for advertised jobs, consider expanding your job search to include these other ‘hidden’ opportunities.

How do I access this hidden jobs market?

The number one way to access these 'hidden' roles is to let other people know that you are looking for work.

We know it can sometimes tough to open up to others about how your job search is going, but it can really benefit you in the long run.

You could start by talking to others about how you have been applying for jobs, any feedback you have had from employers or about the types of roles that interest you. Also consider asking other people about (and showing genuine interest in) their work history, including how they got their jobs. This could lead to a job referral or advice on where to look for jobs.

Being proactive about approaching employers is another important way to get access to hidden jobs. Employers (particularly small businesses) are super busy. They would often rather have a job seeker approach them directly about work than have to spend time, effort and money on formal advertising.

Contact employers you want to work for and ask them about possible current or future opportunities. Remember to research the employer and their business before you approach them and have a tailored résumé ready to give them!

Quick tips to find ‘hidden’ vacancies

  1. Connect with people you know.
  • This includes friends, family, teachers, community organisations, local employers and others in your community. 
  • Be open about the fact that you are looking for work.
  • Ask if they can let you know if they hear about any job opportunities.
  • People are usually happy to help by finding out a little information, passing on your contact details or making an introduction.
  1. Directly approach businesses you would like to work for.
  • Before approaching an employer about a job, research the employer to understand how your skills and attributes make you a good fit for the business.
  • Use this information to work up your ‘sales pitch’. Practice your pitch before you knock on their door or pick up the phone.
  • Even if they don’t have any current vacancies, employers will often keep résumés on file for when new vacancies come up.

Putting yourself out there and looking for jobs this way can be tough, and it also means that you can be contacted by employers at any time, so always be prepared for their call. Check your email regularly and record a professional-sounding voicemail message in case you miss a call. You also need to be prepared for an interview at short (or no!) notice.

Improving Your Odds in the Labour Market -  A Resource for Job Seekers (

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