I’ll be honest, I am a little tired of hearing all the complaints and finger pointing I hear from Recruiters and Candidates alike. But today, I am not going to make any apologies for anyone — though trust me, I have my share of Recruiter and Candidate horror stories too. Today I just want to share some simple advice and insights — and I truly believe if you follow this advice, it will make a difference in your job search.
Don’t just “post and pray” – this method doesn’t work for Recruiters OR Candidates. It is no more reasonable that a candidate would send some generic, one stop shop resume than it is for a Recruiter to throw up some job responsibilities and skills — and really expect that the person on the other end will just magically get it. This is just lazy. Please understand this process is work on both sides. Making it easier for the other in the long run makes it easier on you as well. But today’s focus is advice for Candidates.
Take a targeted, thoughtful, focused approach. Know the companies, teams, or people with whom you want to work — and where you would add value.
Look on their web site to see if they have job opening(s) for which you are best suited and most interested. If it is a bigger company with many possibilities, it is still best to limit this to no more than 3-5 of the best fits based on person/team (a specific hiring manager or team) or job.
Mold your resume to each job – think of it like a business proposal. It should clearly demonstrate that you understand the nature of the business and industry, the job function itself, what needs to be done, and how your being employed there will add value.
Network. Find someone you know at your target company — or use a tool like LinkedIn to make a connection through your extended network.
Apply online. Indicate you are a referral, and use the name of your connection/contact. Applying online is important – even if you email as well. You have a better chance of getting lost in someone’s inbox than in their tracking system. Today’s need for tracking, laws, and compliance makes it likely that your candidacy is not even truly “official” until you are in their system anyway.
Don’t avoid or ignore the Recruiter. The plain fact is that you will almost certainly have to deal with an internal recruiter in most companies of size and scope. So even if you’re connected with the Hiring Manager direct, know the advantage is it will get to the Recruiter already with their blessing and you will likely get in process faster (versus sitting in a ‘black hole’ somewhere — or a recruiter unsure you are qualified or not because your resume is too generic or not job specific). But you will likely not be able to avoid the Recruiter, if you want to COMPLETE the process.
Follow up. Don’t JUST apply. Take control of your search. Use your contact to get in touch with the Hiring Manager or Recruiter — or again, use Linkedin and do a simple search on the company and find SOMEONE in Recruiting. Reach out and ask to talk to the person recruiting for that position. Remember the business proposal concept. Arm the Recruiter with the information to “sell” your candidacy to that Hiring Manager — especially if they haven’t asked you the right questions to ascertain this. Don’t assume your resume is so well-written that they should just know. Good, bad, right, or wrong – the simple fact of the matter is they may not truly understand the role, business, or function. Help them, help you. Stay in touch with them, but stay respectful. I know this all seems like a lot more work on your side, but it is very effective. The beauty is YOU have better control of the process and thus have a better chance of controlling the outcome. And specifically the best outcome suited for you…
One last word of advice — Please consider checking your attitude and bias about Recruiters (and your job search process) at the door. I get it – you have had horrible experiences. But you have to wipe the slate clean with each new company and each new Recruiter. You have to remember that you are dealing with Human Beings, not Job Titles. Remember innocent until proven guilty? And even when you are not sharing your past Recruiter and/or Job Search horror stories with them directly — they can almost certainly sense it in your attitude. Every company, every person IS different, and you owe it to them — and to yourself — to start with an open mind.
For the people who I have seen follow this advice, it does make a difference in getting your foot in the door — from there, the rest is up to you. I truly wish you the best of luck!!!
Have any more constructive advice to share? Please weigh in…