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Creating your own job opportunities

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Faced with the prospect of looking for a new job, people often think that there are only two possible ways to go about it. One is to look at job vacancy notices and another is to register with a recruitment agency. Often, this leaves job-seekers feeling frustrated, thinking that there is nothing out there for them.

In reality, about 30% of all jobs are advertised on recruitment agencies' databases and the other 70% are available through people's personal contacts. In other words, the job market can be divided into two parts: The advertised job market and the hidden job market.

Jobs that are advertised in traditional places, as dicussed above, are the tip of the iceberg and there is much more to job seeking than meets the eye.

The hidden job market offers many more potential opportunities. Networking and speculative approaches enable you to take up existing unadvertised opportunities or get a job that is created for you.

There are many different sources of jobs for nurses:

? NT Live

? Professionals journals

? Newspapers

? Internet

? Recrutment agencies

? Professional associations

? Cold-call visits

? Telephoning

? Speculative letters

? Word of mouth

? Job fairs

? Networking

? Radio and TV

The job market can be further split into two further groups requiring different approaches:

? Advertised Job Market, requiring conventionalapproaches

? Hidden Job Market, requiring proactiveapproaches

Advertised Job Market

The two standard ways of approaching this part of the job market are:

Jobs that are advertised in newspapers,journals, the media and the internet involve a conventional approach; either by the completion of an application form or the submission of a targeted letter accompanied by your CV

There are many recruitment agencies catering for nursing and other healthcare-related jobs. You may register without charge and it is in their interest to find you a job

Hidden Job Market

A vast number of jobs are never advertised such as appointments which are about to become vacant and those which are newly created. These are obtained by means of proactive approaches by:


This simply means using existing contacts (word-of-mouth). If you have useful contacts such as colleagues, friends who work in other healthcare establishments, you are particularly fortunate.


You may want to engage new and potentially more useful contacts by cold-calling or making direct speculative approaches to certain people. These may include:

? NHS hospitals

? Private hospitals

? Nursing homes

? Clinics

? Group practices

? Other healthcare establishments

This may result in the establish­ment of a valuable network of helpful contacts

A helpful way to do this is:

  • Write a good speculative letter politely requesting a meeting with someone in authority
  • Follow this up with a telephone call in order to set a date for the meeting

At the meeting, you will make a new contact and have the opportunity to promote yourself. You will also get you get a foot in the door and possibly get a job sooner or later.

To sum up, the best way to approach looking for a new job is to:

Apply for advertised appointments and register with appropriate recruitment agencies

  • Make a point of telling everyone what you have to offer by way of skills, experience and qualifications
  • Inform everyone you know that you are available for employment.

By being proactive(networking and making speculative approaches) the word gets around simply because you are actively promoting and profiling yourself.

Tim Dotchin

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