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Trinity College Dublin

Find the Hidden Jobs

People who are looking for jobs often start by searching job advertisements on job boards, recruitment agency websites and company pages online. When there are no job adverts of interest to you you need to get creative. This means that you can decide to take charge and manage your job search in a way that brings you closer to the job you want, without waiting for opportunities to be created by others. This approach is more pro-active than answering advertisements or sending out CVs in response to job adverts.

Features of the creative job search include accessing the hidden market, acquiring networking skills and developing an effective job search action plan.


Investigate the Hidden Job Market

Depending on the sector, up to 7 out of 10 jobs are not advertised - they arise through the 'hidden job market'. Discover your 'hidden opportunities' by doing some of the following:

  • Develop contacts with experts in the field you want to work in, e.g. join the professional bodies.
  • Become a volunteer or get work-experience in that area.
  • Collect information, target relevant employers to find out more.
  • Keep up with the news in the area - begin to spot opportunities.
  • Carry out some informational interviews.

Networking Process

'More than 25% of people who find jobs through networking receive the referral from someone they meet once a year or less'.

Networking is a process through which you:

  • Make yourself and your aspirations known to as many people as possible so as to achieve your goals.
  • Seek information and advice.
  • Meet people who may not be employers or even work in the area - but they may be able to help by suggesting how you find someone who does.

Misconceptions - Networking

"I don't know anyone who can help - I have no contacts"

"Yes, you do!"

Throughout your life, you have known and are known to family, friends, their friends, people you play on sports teams with, members of societies you are a part of, other students, work mates, travel companions ... These are all people in your network, and each of them has their own network of contacts.

Let as many of these people as possible know of your goal, ask them for their help and advice. Ask them if they know someone in the area of work who could be approached for advice ... now you are networking.

NB: Networking is NOT asking for a job. Networking is the skill of building good relationships with people around you, helping them when you can, and seeking their help and advice when you need it. Most people cannot give you a job, but can give you helpful advice, insight, and access to people they know who might be able to help you. Try to meet people for a coffee or to arrange a conversation on the phone where you can find out more about the sector you're interested in. This is called "informational interviewing"!

Preparing for an Informational Interview

  • Do your research on the sector.
  • Be professional and business-like, without being a nuisance.
  • Be aware that time is precious; do not overstay your welcome.
  • Always send a thank you email or card.
  • Keep a 'Log Book' of all the information obtained including details of the contacts you have made.

What to ask at an Informational Interview

Examples of what you could ask:

Topic: Selection - What do you look for / do people in this sector look for when recruiting for X?

  • Academic qualifications, further training
  • Personal qualities
  • Anything else?

Topic: Career Opportunities

  • What are my chances of getting into X?
  • What could I do to improve my chances?
  • Is there something else you feel I'm better suited to?
  • Is there anybody else you could put me in touch with?

Topic: CV

  • Do you think this CV will get me the job?

Topic: Job Satisfaction

  • Do you think this is a good area to work in?
  • What do you like most? Like least about it?
  • How do you see this area of work changing in the future?

Career Network

Career Network is a database of former Trinity undergraduates and postgraduates, who have volunteered to share their experiences of employment, further study and living abroad with TCD students and graduates. This is not a network to help you find specific jobs but is there to enable you to search for and connect with alumni to ask them about their career experiences and to seek their advice on areas of interest to you. Students value reading graduate profiles and contacting volunteers for more career advice and information.

Students can use the Career Network to find out about:

  • a specific company/ organisation
  • a particular job role
  • employment sectors

And to seek inspiration on:

  • what to do with a degree subject
  • living abroad
  • options for further study

So sign up to Career Network today!

What can I ask Career Network members?

Alumni can provide behind the scenes information about a company, an occupation, a specific job or postgraduate course, as well as creating useful opportunities for networking.

The volunteers on the Career Network won't be able to offer students a job, but they can often offer advice about work experience, or recommend further contacts within their organisation.

What sectors are included?

Alumni who are members of the Career Network represent a broad range of occupations, from journalism, publishing and music sectors to business, law and medicine sectors. A variety of occupations and roles is covered and this is expected to grow as more graduates join the network.


Related Resources

  • Career Network - The Career Network is now available on Front Gate Online, it facilitates career planning and research for alumni and students, allowing you to share experiences and learn from each other online. Register now and start networking!
  • Local alumni branches, Trinity College has over 90,000 alumni globally, and there is a growing number of local TCD Alumni branches around the world. Find details at
  • LinkedIn ( now offers an 'Alumni' feature where you can find over 45,000 TCD graduates who are on LinkedIn. You can filter the data to find alumni who have done the same course as you, alumni who are in a job you would like to do, or who are living in a country you would like to move to, and get in touch. Don't restrict yourself to TCD alumni, see what other contracts are in your network and in roles you are considering and see if you can get introduced by mutual contacts.
  • Small to Medium Sized organisations are important recruiters in the Irish labour market. Remember Irish Small to Medium Sized Enterprises for networking opportunities and the Small Firms Association.
  • Company directories are also useful to identify organisations across the sectors -
  • Professional bodies active in your sectors of choice often have lists of members which can be helpful in identifying organisations you can target
  • Read Networking for postgraduate students
  • Further resources for networking


The CAS Occupational Surveys of various sectors provide students with an invaluable insight into how recruitment to the sector operates, the skills and backgrounds recruiters are looking for, and which organisations have graduate and internship opportunities.

Sarah Ryan
Careers Adviser
Last Updated: 09-Jul-2014