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How can community networks be the source of hidden jobs?
  • JohnJohn
    When I was sixteen I was clueless about getting a job. I just had no idea how to go about it. I was unskilled, inexperienced and very shy. The internet was barely heard of and finding employment consisted of 3 mile walks to the local job centre and scanning the Thursday nights jobs section in the Liverpool Echo.

    I recall feeling very helpless and extremely frustrated with job searching. I was a child suddenly thrusted into an adults world and I had never felt smaller or more out of place. For months and months I would look for jobs, apply for jobs and get rejected from jobs. Life felt tough... but all that changed one sunny evening in August when my mother arrived home from work.

    She shouted to my sister and l to come downstairs as she told us of her journey home. At the bus stop she had bumped in to an old friend, Annie, who told her of a local company that was hiring staff. That company was Littlewoods Pools. Mum told us that we should write them a letter quickly before news of the jobs broke out to everyone! So we did. Wthout any further information on what kind of people they where looking for or what jobs hey had, I pulled out the Yellow Pages directory hidden inside the gas cupboard and looked up the address.

    I had a very poor CV so I just wrote a short but friendly letter introducing myself. That letter brought me my first ever interview, and then through some unknown miracle, my first ever job. I was responsible for marking thousands of Spot The Ball coupons to identify lucky winners. After a year or so I was promoted to work in the accounts department as a clerk. I was doing ok so the company funded me to go to evening classes at college to learn business and marketing and with my new found enthusiasm I earned more promotions, first within sales and then within the marketing department.

    I worked at Littlewoods Pools for 10 years before I took voluntary redundancy and at the age of 26 I left to go exploring around the world. At Liitlewoods I learned so much about life and about work. I gained amazing skills and fantastic work experience. After five years of evening classes I gained higher education qualifications in business and in marketing, and above all else I made the most amazing friendships. That company changed and shaped my life and I owe it all to that thankful moment when my mother and her old friend Annie met at the bus stop that one day. I later learned that Annie heard about the jobs at Littlewoods through her niece who was told about the opportunities through her friends mum who worked for the company.

    It amazes me when I think of the networks of people who carry such important knowledge for job searchers. I had tried for months and months to get a job interview by sending my CV in the post, completing job applications and nervously calling employers on the telephone in response to small newspaper job adverts. Yet it was information passed on to me by people who cared and who offered lots of encouragement that opened the door for me. I hear stories like mine all the time. Recently I gave a talk to university students about the hidden jobs market and nearly all the students who had found a job did so through introductions or recommendations. People can change the course of their lives through positive connections with other people.

    People are the real gateway to opportunities, not computers, CV's or application forms. They will get you so far... if you are lucky. When we learn how to "tune" in to the people around us we expand our knowledge and open our minds to new possibilities. It is then that the doors start to open and opportunities start to appear. People are the real power within the Hidden Jobs Market

    I'm interested to learn about your story. How have people you have known or been introduced to influenced the job opportunities you have gained? drop me an e-mail