Many job opportunities are never advertised. It's been estimated that more than half of positions vacant in Australia are filled through an informal network rather than formally advertised. Often called the "hidden job market", these jobs can only be accessed through networking or cold calling. These techniques are among the most powerful and effective way of finding a job, and planning and practice will increase your confidence.
Once you know what industry or type of job you want to do, thorough research is called for. Make some notes about what you already know about the industry or type of job you would like. A second list might be made up of what you don't yet know but need to find out. The information you need includes:
Where is the industry or job type geographically located? Would you have to relocate to work in this area?
Is this industry growing or shrinking? Is this a high-demand occupation or are unemployment rates high?
Which companies are the major "players" in the industry?
Is there a professional association that represents this industry or this group of workers?
Are there related occupations that face skill shortages?
Are formal qualifications required to work in this industry or occupation?
Where will you find these types of jobs? Only in large corporations, or in small businesses as well?
Are these types of vacancies generally filled by recruitment agencies or directly by the companies?
This may seem a daunting list, but reading the employment sections of the major newspapers over a period of weeks can often provide a good feel for this information. Your local library may keep back copies of newspapers. If there's a professional association for the industry or occupation, call or visit and ask for or buy copies of the trade journal. If you're at university or high school, make use of your career guidance services. You're already using the Internet: make full use of its potential for research. It's worth taking some time to explore different search engines and how to refine your search for information. Yellow Pages directories are a good starting point for identifying names and locations of companies.
Finish this process by compiling a list of the companies you want to work for. It might be the specific department of a single company or your list might include every company in the industry that is located within a 20 km radius of home.
Research the companies
Next, find out everything you can about your target companies: their product lines, competitors, prices, growth prospects, organisational structure, employment policies, key staff and overseas trends and developments which may effect local operations.