The long awaited September is finally here; the lull in the recruitment market should now be over and recruiters will be coming out of hibernation. The summer months are notoriously difficult for job seekers, not made any easier by the wash out August. Then as things start to look brighter we hear the devastating news that another 1000 jobs are set to go at RBS in Yorkshire. Data from the Centre of Economics and Business Research predicts the unemployment figures in Yorkshire are set to rise by a further 10% by 2015. These figures could be enough to drive job seekers into depression especially if they are not playing the right game.

Many of my clients have stated that the more they get to know about how the job market works the more they realise the games that are being played between recruiters and candidates. The more they understand the rules of the game the easier it becomes to know which vacancies may result in interviews and those that will disappear into the ether. So if you don’t like the rules change the game.

It is widely acknowledged that only 20% of all senior level jobs are found in the advertised market on job boards, traditional papers and recruiters. This is a small pond to fish in when there are many Executive fish in the job market. Recruiters have stated that they are receiving 100’s of applications for each role. This is when the game of telephone tag with the recruiter begins before you are finally told that the role was filled internally. This is not only frustrating for you the candidate, but also for the good recruiters that are out there. A good recruiter is worth their weight in gold, they will talk to you honestly about the position and keep you informed of progress. Ensure you are presenting yourself as the candidate of choice; never expect a recruiter or potential employer to read between the lines you have to sell yourself.

Increase your chances of success and change the game, access the other 80% of positions, known as the unadvertised market. The industry has created smoke and mirrors around the unadvertised market. Job seekers have asked me where they can find this elusive list. The unadvertised market is simply common sense; when people are looking to recruit they first look within their circle of influence. Do we know anyone who can do the job? If we do that’s our starting point, if not we ask those we know who they know and so on. Not only do we then employ someone from a recommendation, we save on the fees involved in the recruitment process. Everyone wins? You only win if you are exploiting you network effectively. Networking is not about asking for a position it is about getting on decision makers radars.

There is a fairly small window of opportunity between September and December to progress your job search if you want to start a new position in the New Year. September will also see the market flooded with passive job seekers who are putting a tentative toe in the water. Keep your job search strategy within the rules spend 20% of your time on the advertised market and 80% of your time creating your own opportunity through networking.

Q. I have been looking for a new position for months and I’m getting nowhere, I feel like giving up what should I do?

A. People are securing roles, starting businesses, beginning contracts so the first thing I will say is don’t give up. Ask yourself what have you been doing? Have you focussed on the advertised market? Who do you know who might be able to help you? If your strategy has not been working then you know something needs to change. Take a step back and re assess what has been working and what hasn’t. There is help out there if you need further support.

Q. I have run a major organisation, why would I need career advice?

A. Career Advice and coaching is like anything else, in the same way as you would not try and fix your own car, or central heating boiler, how can you fix your career if you don’t know which tools to use? Our business leaders benefit from advice and coaching in areas they are not experienced in. The job search is a lonely journey and the most successful people are those who bounce ideas of those who know the job market.

Q.I think my age is against me in the market; will I ever get another job?

A. Huge steps have been taken to reduce ageism in the job market but experts doubt it will ever be eradicated completely. You have to position yourself in terms of seniority and not age. There are people securing positions well in to their 60’s. These do tend to come from networking rather than the advertised market. Re-evaluate your strategy and think about who you know that will recognise the positive impact you have had on organisations through-out your career.

Q. I want a new position for the New Year when should I start looking?

A. The simple answer is that one should never stop job seeking, you always need to keep an eye on the market and talk to those who might be influential in the future. Realistically to start a position in the New Year you need to start job hunting now. The recruitment cycle can take several weeks to get through the interview stage and then you have to consider notice periods and the Christmas break. Firstly think about who might be interested in your skills and start having conversations with them, don’t simply spray your CV across the market.