Activity Industry Sector
Arts, Media & Entertainment

Activity Originally Created By: Mike Morris

Understanding the 80/20 rule - 10 minutes

Part of Lesson Plan: Career Exploration - 1 hour unit

Activity Overview / Details

Teacher Lecture Notes:

The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule applies to most areas of job search. Eighty percent of the available jobs are not usually advertised in the traditional way, while 20 percent are advertised through conventional methods. This does not mean students should abandon traditional methods of job search. The wider students cast their net, the more territory they will cover and the more access they will have to the hidden job market.


Job-seekers should focus 80 percent of their energy on the hidden job market and 20 percent of their energy using the traditional job hunt strategies. Eighty percent of their time should be spent expanding their circle of direct contacts. By expanding their network they can increase their chances of "being in the right place at the right time!"

These figures are approximate and may vary somewhat, but they tend to hold true for most occupational areas. As with all job search activities, getting the interview is the key. Once the interview is secured, only your student can sell themselves to the employer and eventually get hired. Only they can get the job. Accessing the hidden job market to get the interview is where the student can help. Making use of  personal connections in the workplace and the community at large is one way to help students expand their contacts and connect to the hidden job market.

Look in the Right Places

Some of the traditional techniques include searching newspaper ads, reading postings in employment agencies or contacting college placement offices. There are many other techniques worth considering, especially ones that increase potential lists of "direct" contacts. The following strategies increase personal networks:

  • Networking -- use your contacts to help increase your circle of contacts; people know people who know people

  • Professional associations -- these can provide good networks for your students

  • Career days and career fairs -- many businesses are represented at these and it is another opportunity to increase personal networks

  • Trade and business magazines -- articles about specific companies can give insight into growth areas and often have contact names or company information. Follow up on this information