You’re looking for a new job. You’ve established an innovative system to scan through the most relevant portals, drill down to the openings that match your profile and ambition, and fire off a state-of-the-art CV and cover letter. That’s a very good start. But, according to Thomas Bucher, with this approach alone, you’re covering only a fraction of the job market!
“99% of the Swiss economy,” Thomas informed me, “Consists of small- and mid-cap enterprises which create two-thirds of the jobs. This includes so-called ‘hidden champions’ -leaders in their fields, operating away from the limelight. It’s quite common for these companies to fill positions before having advertised them. By tuning into these openings, you not only gain access to Switzerland’s ‘hidden job market’, but you also stand a much greater chance of putting yourself first in line to land the job.”
So what exactly is the secret sauce here, I wondered. “The secret lies in networking!” Thomas said, reading my mind. “We guide students in taking a strategic approach to activating their network. We introduce them to the right people and, in return, we ask that they remain curious and open to the prospect that one of these introductions – nurtured well, over time – could lead, directly or indirectly, to their next big move.”
Of course, networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Here, Thomas offered some parting tips: “Approach people with purposeful, clear messaging, ask yourself: why would this person want to speak to me?” LinkedIn is a powerful tool for this. State your opinion in a post, engage in ongoing conversation, reach out for expertise and experience, and show genuine interest. Above all, be sure to approach people with the intention of building a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.
“Through careful cultivation of the right relationships,” he added, “I’ve witnessed students create new openings for themselves… as if out of thin air!”
Thomas Bucher is our Head of Corporate & Alumni Relations, and Careers. He leads the University of St.Gallen MBA "Future Skills Advisory Board".