As an active job seeker, you’re likely ready and willing to pull out all of your resources to find a job. While working with a recruiter should be one of those tactics to use in your job search, it’s difficult to understand how to best use recruiters to your advantage.
In essence, recruiters work closely with hiring companies to recruit for a specific job description. Recruiters are also involved in some, if not all, of the following tasks:
Review applicant resumes
Select the top candidates
Conduct preliminary phone interviews
Conduct in-person interviews
Facilitate interviews with top candidates with the hiring company
Facilitate job offers with candidates
You might be thinking, “Perfect! The recruiter can help me land a job!” Wrong. A recruiter’s goal is to hire the job candidate who is best for the hiring company’s position. If you aren’t the right fit, you might not receive feedback or even a call back.
Now that I’ve scared you, let’s get to the good part. If you know how to effectively communicate with and reach out to recruiters, they are experts on connecting talent with the right job. Here are a five steps to getting the most out of a recruiter:
1. Target the right recruitment agencies. There are thousands of employment or staffing agencies in the U.S. Before you start contacting agencies on the fly, try targeting specific agencies by location or specialty. Many agencies recruit for a specific industry, geographic location, or both. If you’re looking for a job in sales and marketing, there’s likely an agency that specifically recruits for these positions in your area and understands the industry well.
2. Don’t become involved with more than three agencies at one time. Because there are so many recruitment agencies in the U.S., competition for talent is high. If you’re not getting much feedback from one agency, it’s okay to branch out to another one. But don’t contact every agency in the area. This will make you seem desperate for work or unemployable.
3. Give your target agencies a call, shoot them an email with your resume, and maintain a relationship in a conservative fashion. Most agencies have their own process for entering their job portal. So go through whatever process they have listed. But be sure to maintain communication with your recruiter without being aggressive, annoying, or needy. If you’re the right fit for a position, the recruiter will contact you. If you haven’t heard from them in a few weeks, don’t forget the recruiter has other clients and is likely very busy. So don’t hesitate to send a short and sweet email.
4. Make sure your resume, cover letters, and any other application materials showcase your skills and fit for the agency’s job openings. This sounds like common sense, but really do it. Recruiters are looking for the best fit for their client’s job openings. So you better make all of your materials showcase this notion! Personalize your cover letters to each hiring company, be professional, and be diligent. This will get a recruiter’s attention.
5. Refer talented friends and contacts to your recruiter if you know they fit a job opening. If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, right? So help your recruiter out. If your friend or colleague is the perfect fit for a job opening, pass along their contact information to your recruiter. (Don’t pass them along if they aren’t qualified!) They will certainly appreciate the gesture and good karma might find you later.
Millions of people have landed a job via a recruitment agency. If you know how to navigate the world of a recruiter and are qualified for their job openings, you will likely move from job seekers to employee.
Recruiters, what tips do you have for job seekers looking to connect with a recruitment agency? Share your tips in the comments below.
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.