Choosing to work with a recruiter can be a good option for you so long as you keep in mind the rules of engagement. The following tips will help you determine if working with a recruiter is the right choice for you.
8 tips to help you work successfully with recruiters:
1. Career changers need not apply – Since recruiters are paid handsomely by employers to place qualified candidates, they are not a good option for career changers. Work with a recruiter only if you are seeking a position in an industry or field in which you have experience.
2. Have a stellar on-line presence – Most recruiters, if not all, will Google candidates before deciding to work with them; so be sure your Linkedin profile is meticulous and your Tweets and other social media footprints reflect a professional image. This is an area where many, otherwise qualified candidates, get screened out.
3. Have a consistent career brand – Your career brand must be clearly articulated and displayed consistently in your cover letter, resume and on-line profiles such as Linkedin. For more on career branding see my article, ‘Career Branding: Why marketing ‘you’ in the job search works’.
4. Be specific – Clearly identify in your cover letter and resume the industries and positions you are interested in. Don’t rely on the recruiter to do the guess work for you. They won’t, and you won’t get a call back.
5. Use a chronological resume format – Recruiters prefer this format over the functional format and may toss your resume if it is not in chronological format.
6. Research recruiters – Just as you would research a real estate broker before listing your home, interview several recruiters before you choose one to work with. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time to see if they really understand your industry and function, and to determine if there is mutual rapport and trust. Ask for a reference or two. Check out the Online Recruiters Directory for a nationwide list of recruiters and executive search firms.
7. Retained or contingency recruiter? Retained recruiters are paid monthly by the companies they work for and generally work with executive level or senior technical candidates only. Contingency recruiters are paid by companies upon placement and typically work with more junior level clients.
8. Have your elevator speech prepared – Be ready to respond to the interview question, “So tell me about yourself” in 30 to 60 seconds when the recruiter asks it. Remember, they are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. For more on elevator speeches, see my article, ‘How to develop a powerful elevator speech’.
Working with a recruiter can be a valuable component of your job search marketing plan. Some people develop long lasting relationships with their recruiters. It is not uncommon for a recruiter to place a client several times during the course of his or her career. While working with a recruiter can be a good option, it should not be your only strategy. Be sure to tap into the hidden job market as well, where many job opportunities exist. Follow us on Twitter.