Booz Allen Hamilton, a major consulting firm, fills about 30% of its open positions with internal hires-up from 10% two years earlier, this according to a recent article on CareerJournal.com. The article highlighted other bonuses for employers to promote from within – shorter time to fill open positions, higher job satisfaction from employees, and better job performance. Many large corporations advertise these openings to employees by utilizing an internal job board – and as an external applicant, you will never see these jobs unless you reach out to network with contacts at your target companies.
Think about it again, a third of all jobs at Booz Allen Hamilton never see the light of day on a public job board. I would think it is safe to say they are not an anomoly – this means a third of all jobs openings at major corporations are never made public. Add to that percentage, jobs where the employer has already identified preferred candidates through referrals, and I would venture to say that at least half of the jobs that are filled at major companies are done so without ever looking at the resume applications generated through the company website. This is not including positions at smaller firms which are filled at an even higher rate through the referral network. What this all means is that one needs to employ a proactive networking approach.
Many career changers wait to reach out to contacts until a job is posted – and reaching out to contacts when you see/apply to a job is a good practice – but you may want to consider taking a more proactive approach. I recommend developing a list of 10-20 firms that you would want to work for and build your networking relationships within the firms even before you apply to any jobs. By alerting people on the inside of your target companies, they can see when internal postings go live and alert you to the opportunity – and the hiring manager to your interest. Even if the firm goes with the internal hire, this type of movement could create opportunities in for the form of backfilling for the internal candidate’s former position.
Knowing the landscape of how firms hire and move people can help you create an effective gameplan for your career search.