If you’ve decided that you want to work with a recruiter, your next question will probably be, “How do I get my resume in front of a recruiter?”
Recruiters are looking for candidates that are a close match to what an employer has outlined as the hiring requirements for the position. In essence, they are looking for square pegs for square holes. If your work history and accomplishments meet their current or future needs, they may add you to their database. Recruiters may contact you if they have a position that fits your profile — or they may make contact to ask you to recommend other people who might be interested in an opening for which they are recruiting.
How to Find A Recruiter
There are many ways to connect with a recruiter. Sometimes, a recruiter will find you. This is particularly true if you have specialized, in-demand skills. If you post your resume to an online job board, you are likely to receive contact from recruiters. Others may identify you through a professional association you’re a member of, or through mentions of your work that appear online in, for example, blogs, articles, and publications.
LinkedIn is also one of the most common ways to be “found” by a recruiter. Recent surveys indicate that 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to identify candidates. You are more likely to be found on LinkedIn if you have a complete profile that is optimized with specific keywords and accomplishments. Recruiters are always looking for good candidates to add to their database.
But you don’t need to wait to be found to work with a recruiter. Proactively making a connection with one or more recruiters can be a good strategy, even if you are not currently looking for a new position.
LinkedIn can be an effective way for you to make a connection with a recruiter. Use the “Advanced People Search” function on LinkedIn to find recruiters in your field or specialty.
When you are signed into your LinkedIn account, in the upper right hand corner, click on the “Advanced” link next to the People search box.
Search the “Keywords” or “Title” field for keywords and industries relevant for your field, like “engineering,” “manufacturing,” or “technology.” You can then narrow down the search by other criteria, like location.
You can continue refining the results until you come up with a few names to contact.
Google can also help you find recruiters. Search Google using a search such as “IT Recruiter Las Vegas” or “Engineering Recruiter San Antonio.” You can also search Google and job boards for jobs posted by recruiters. If you find postings for positions similar to the one you’re interested in, you can make contact with the recruiter and present yourself for other opportunities.
You can also use a resume distribution research firm to identify targeted recruiters to contact. For example, Resume Spidermatches you with companies that are looking for people with your skills, in your chosen locations and industries. Once matched, your resume will be emailed to these companies each month. Another company, Profile Research, can research and develop lists of recruiters that are looking for candidates with your qualifications and expertise. For a fee, they will identify the recruiters and distribute your resume and cover letter to these individuals (either via e-mail or offline).
You can use free and paid online directories and networks to find recruiters. Here are some options to consider:
Kennedy Career Services – This company maintains an online directory of recruiters. They also publish an annual print directory of recruitment firms (“The Directory of Executive and Professional Recruiters,” also known as the “Recruiter Red Book”).
SearchFirm – This free directory option is designed to help executive search firms connect with corporate clients, but jobseekers can also search the database by specialty, geography, and recruiter name.
NPA (The Worldwide Recruiting Network) – Jobseekers can search the online directory of The Worldwide Recruiting Network to find member firms.
The NPA website also has a job search tool for jobseekers to view listings posted by recruiters within their network. Search the NPA Job Board by job title, keywords, and/or specialties.
Your Personal Network – One of the best ways to find a recruiter is through a referral from someone you know. Talking with co-workers in your field to see who they have worked with is a great way to find a recruiter. If there’s a specific company you want to work for, you can also make a connection with someone in their human resources department and ask if there is a specific recruiter or recruiting firm they work with.
Research Your Recruiter
See if your recruiter has been involved in any high-profile searches in your industry (these are sometimes profiled in industry publications). Google your recruiter’s name and see what job postings he or she has listed online. You are trusting your personal information and reputation to your recruiter, so trusting him or her is essential.
Target Your Resume For Recruiters
Recruiters — especially contingency recruiters (read last week’s blog post to refresh your memory on contingency recruiters) — have different expectations for resumes than hiring managers. Some recruiting firms standardize the resumes of candidates they submit to a hiring manager at a company. If a recruiter asks you to make changes to your resume, you will generally want to make the changes, but only for use with that recruiter. Don’t change the resume you use in your own job search to conform to the requests of one recruiter.
Recruiters may review hundreds of resumes a day, so your recruiter-targeted resume will only get a brief look. It’s important to identify the highlights of what makes you unique (sometimes called your personal brand or personal positioning) in the top one-third page of the resume so that it is immediately clear who you are and what you do. (Earlier this month, I wrote a three-part series on personal branding; be sure to check that out.)
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll wrap up the topic of how to work with recruiters by blogging about how technology has changed recruiter relationships, recruiter etiquette, and myths about working with recruiters.
[photo source: www.theglasshammer.com]