Use these tips to foster fruitful relationships with recruiters and land your next job.
When you’re searching for a new job, working with a skilled recruiter can make all the difference. A recruiter can help open doors to your dream company, provide input on your marketing materials, and coach you on what works and doesn’t work during interviews for a specific client — all things that can be extremely valuable during your job search.
You may seek out a recruiter yourself or a recruiter may seek you out if you seem like a fit for one of their job openings. No matter how you end up working with a recruiter, the following tips are intended to guide you on how to foster a positive relationship and get the most out of your partnership.
1. Know your goals
What is your niche? What type of company culture is a good fit for you? What is your dream position? What companies would you love to work for? Answering these types of questions will help you secure the right recruiter for your career goals. Also, the clearer you are, the easier it will be for a recruiter to identify the right job fit for you.
2. Keep your resume current
Most recruiters will want to see your resume before meeting with you. Be proactive and make sure your resume is current and up to date before contacting recruiters. Consider investing in a professional resume-writing service like TopResume to ensure you have an optimized and marketable resume that will truly sell you.
3. Interview recruiters
You’ll divulge lots of information about your work history and job goals to recruiters along the way. It’s important that you trust those you’re working with and are able to get along with them.
4. Be courteous and respectful
Like anyone, recruiters want to work with people they like. Treat them with respect and be polite when interacting with them. Also, keep in mind that recruiters have full calendars because they are helping many people like you land jobs. Be respectful of their time by keeping communications brief and to the point and don’t inundate them with phone calls and emails.
Tip: Treat conversations with recruiters as if they are interviews with hiring managers. The way you communicate with your recruiter is an indication of how you will represent yourself with a hiring manager, and you want that impression to be positive and professional.
5. Follow through with commitments
If a recruiter has scheduled an interview or meeting for you and you’ve agreed to attend, follow through. It reflects poorly not only on yourself but also on the recruiter if you don’t.
6. Trust recruiters to do their job
In most cases, recruiters have the expertise and knowledge to help you navigate your job search. They also have the relationship with the client and understand the client’s needs. They know what they’re talking about, so give them your trust that they will guide you in the right direction.
7. Help recruiters help you
You will be sharing a lot of job-related information with recruiters, so don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid to share pertinent information with them that you might think you need to hide. For example, if you’ve held several positions in a short period of time or have gaps in employment, it can be helpful if you equip the recruiter with information as to why. That way, he or she knows how to best represent you to employers.
Casie Luke, Houston-based Recruiter and Talent Acquisition Leader at Jones|Carter, shares: “Lots of movement in your career is okay. Just tell recruiters up front so they know how to market your background and job changes to their clients. If you have had three jobs in five years, most employers aren’t going to be excited about it. However, if you can say the first company went out of business and the second was over an hour each way for commuting — those are good reasons to be looking for a new job and help to validate why you’ve moved around a lot.”
8. Be open about working with other recruiters
Recruiters appreciate honesty on all fronts, from your work experience to whether or not you are working with other recruiters. They understand that you’re in the market to get a job and that you’ll likely have eggs in various baskets.
Casie Luke also states: “Be honest! If you are working with other recruiters, tell them. There is nothing worse than a recruiter getting to the final stages of a job search to find out that they will not be reaping any rewards for the sweat they have put in for you. Make sure you tell the recruiter all of the places that you have already applied so they don’t double dip or waste efforts, as well.”
Recruiters will respect you for your honesty. It’s also a small world out there, and you don’t want to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth by withholding the truth.
9. Tailor your communications
Effective communication goes both ways. Ask your recruiter what his or her preferred method of communication is, be it text, email, or phone calls. If their preferred method doesn’t line up with yours, then share what your preferred communication is and work together to come up with the best way to correspond so neither of you misses each other’s messages.
10. Ask for constructive criticism
Be open to receiving constructive criticism to help you improve your marketing materials and interviewing process. If the recruiter doesn’t offer constructive criticism voluntarily, ask for feedback. This can only help you improve your chances.
11. Help recruiters find you online and offline
Many recruiters prefer to find you versus your coming to them. Make it easy for recruiters to find you online by having a current LinkedIn profile, writing professional articles for publications in your field, creating a professional blog, or getting involved in online communities like Quora. Offline, being active in your community, attending networking events, and teaching courses are viable ways to get noticed by recruiters.
12. Track your submissions
Keep a book or list of your job submissions. It can be frustrating for both you and recruiters if you receive a call about a position and you’re clueless as to which position is being referenced.
13. Offer up referrals
Businesses thrive on referrals, and external recruiters operate very much like a business. By offering qualified referrals to a recruiter, it will put you in their good graces and at the top of their list for future job openings for which you are qualified. TopResume’s Career Advice Expert, Amanda Augustine, shares that even when a recruiter calls you about a position that you’re not interested in, you can still put a positive spin on the situation. She offers the following advice to her clients:
“When a recruiter contacts you with a job that isn’t a fit for or of interest to you, thank the recruiter for reaching out, explain the type of job you are interested in, and then offer to put the recruiter in touch with someone from your network who would be a better fit for their current open requisition.”
14. Keep in touch even after you’ve landed a job
In some cases, a recruiter can become a lifelong career advocate. You never know when you might be in search of a new job, so if you click with your recruiter, make an attempt to stay in touch with him or her for the long term. This can be as simple as an email every six months to remain on their radar. This also gives you an opportunity to offer up referrals and possibly help a colleague of yours out, as well.
It’s a competitive job market out there, and recruiters can help you navigate it. Put these tips to use to create a partnership that will help you land your next job.
This article first appeared in TopResume.