When you’re searching for a new job, working with a skilled recruiter can make all the difference. Recruiters are job search experts who know all the tricks and have just the right amount of intuition to help you make a great connection. They can be a very helpful addition to your job search — and, almost always, working with recruiters is free!
A recruiter can help open doors to your dream company, deliver feedback on your resume, provide valuable market insights and industry news, 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 work with recruiters and get the most out of your partnership.
- Know your goals
What is your niche? What are your career goals? What is your dream position? What are your intangible needs? 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.
- Keep your resume current
Most recruiters will want to see your resume before speaking 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 to ensure you have an optimized and marketable resume that will truly sell you.
- 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.
Tip: It goes both ways. 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.
- Be responsive and follow through with commitments
Recruiters will do their best to work around your schedule. Check your email, text, voicemail and get back to them ASAP – you never know if you’ll miss out on an opportunity because you didn’t respond quickly enough. They’re working on your behalf as quick as you’ll let them. On the flip side, expect recruiters to be responsive too. Yes, they’re usually busy; however, if you check in with them, a good recruiter will follow up with you.
Most importantly, 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.
- Trust recruiters to do their job
In most cases, recruiters have the expertise and knowledge to help you navigate your job search. They are a direct conduit to the employer for your application and also have the relationship with the employer and understand the employer’s needs. They know what they’re talking about so give them your trust that they will guide you in the right direction.
- 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.
- 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.
- Help recruiters find you online
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 and updating your resume on other job boards. You’ll want to be visible to them so they can find you. There are a number of things you can do to be more visible to recruiters and hiring managers. Be sure to add your activity to your resume, portfolio, and LinkedIn profile so that they can see your accomplishments.
Tip: If you prefer to seek out a recruiter yourself, consider searching LinkedIn to find recruiters who specialize in your field. Not every recruiter fills every type of job. Most recruiters specialize in specific industries and job functions. For this reason, you will likely have the most productive relationships with recruiters specializing in your field or job function.
- Track your submissions
Keep a 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.
- Offer up referrals
Businesses thrive on referrals, and external recruiters operate very much like a business. One of the best ways to ensure a productive relationship with recruiters long into your career is to help them out by recommending top-performing friends and members of your network to them. By offering qualified referrals to a recruiter, it can be a way to thank them for their help while at the same time possibly helping a colleague out.
- 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 jobs o 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.
- Thank your recruiter at the end of the process
A simple thank you goes a long way toward cementing your relationship with the recruiter yet few candidates exercise this simple common courtesy. Giving the recruiter a LinkedIn recommendation or a positive review also can’t hurt.
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.