Once you have chosen a recruiter to work with, develop the relationship to give the recruiter the best chance of representing you well to an employer. Recruiters are notoriously short on time, so anything you can do to help them expedite the process is a plus. Pay attention to their needs, and you will have a better chance for that position you are targeting.
Here are the top ways you can help your recruiter help you:
Be prepared: Have your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile squared away before you contact a recruiter. Recruiters can provide information that will target your resume more closely to the position they are sourcing. Most, however, are not resume writers and won’t want to spend the time crafting yours. Their job is to match a candidate – hopefully you – with an opening in their portfolio.
Hone your brand: While you’re developing your resume and LinkedIn content, familiarize yourself with your personal brand. What are you known for? What do you have to offer? Why should an employer hire you over other candidates? Be able to express your brand succinctly in just a few sentences.
Have a goal: What do you want? “I’m open to anything” doesn’t give a recruiter anything to go on. Recruiters are not career coaches, so don’t expect them to help you define your next career move. You need to do that before you talk to the recruiter.+
Get over it: Vent your frustration about your current or former position somewhere else. If you’re still boiling mad at your last boss, a recruiter is going to see red flags about sending you on an interview. At the same time, examine your presence. Are you coming across professionally and enthusiastically? If not, why not? Treat a conversation with a recruiter like an interview so they will see your best self.
Be transparent: Tell your recruiter the truth. If you’ve had difficulty in prior positions, say so. If you’re working with other recruiters, say so. If you’re not available for another year, say so. No surprises is a good rule of thumb. Don’t waste the recruiter’s time if you’re not serious about the position.
Share your compensation goal: The recruiter is likely to ask you about compensation. Be honest and consistent. This isn’t the time to be coy. Talk with the recruiter about their role in salary negotiations. Do they negotiate or do you? They may be more adept at it than you are.
Be available: Keep your recruiter in the loop. Don’t disappear without warning. If you’re traveling, let your recruiter know you’re unavailable.
Trust the process: Once you begin working with a recruiter, don’t go over their head to contact an employer directly. You could damage your chances for the position, and you’re going to alienate the recruiter.
Say thank you: If your recruiter does a good job for you, whether you land the position or not, offer your gratitude. A thank you card is appropriate. A LinkedIn recommendation is better. Best of all is to offer referrals of quality candidates for jobs you don’t qualify for. Then, stay connected. Consider your recruiter as part of your job search team. You don’t always get to choose the time for a job search, so keeping in touch with your recruiter occasionally helps you stay prepared for the surprise job search.
If you’re thinking of contacting a recruiter, contact me first to prepare your resume and LinkedIn profile. You want to show your recruiter you’re serious and ready to roll!
- Recruiters: What they really do
- Recruiters: Why you want to work with them
- Recruiters: How to find them; how to help them find you
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