As professional recruiters, we review dozens of resumes a day and hundreds each week. Over the course of an average month, you can imagine how that figure begins to add up. There are certain things that job candidates should do, (but often do not) that makes the lives of recruiter easier and make us more efficient when it comes to helping you reach your job search goals. Some are no-brainers, while others are things that you wouldn’t know unless you had a Recruiter personally tell you, or picked it up from reading a blog such as this.
Bottom line, recruiters want all job seekers to land fulfilling positions doing work that they love. More people working will lead to economic growth and opportunity for more individuals to find gainful employment within organizations that we assist. In turn, this enables us to help even more talent, growing our business and the opportunities we can offer other job seekers. It’s a win-win for everyone.
5 Things All Job Seekers Should Do According To Recruiters
1) Put Your Full Name In The Name Of Your Resume File and Job Title
These days dozens of applicants may apply for a single job, sometimes thousands. (Yes, thousands.) And in some cases, applicants may share the same or similar name as another applicant! Putting your full name, middle initial (if you have one) and last name helps us to identify who you are quicker. Imagine how many resumes we may receive with just the job title or job requisition number. That’s a lot of resumes we have to take the time to sort through and rename with the candidate’s actual name so that we can easily identity who is who, and then file their resume in our database so they can be considered for other openings. Some recruiters will take the time to rename resume files, but a majority WILL NOT. Always put your full name and your job title in your resume file!
Submitting for multiple jobs? Each resume that you develop specifically for every position you apply to should have your full name along with the name of the title you are applying for. That way, there is no confusion as to what resume you want us to review and submit to our clients.
2) Customize Your Resume For Each Job You Apply To
Employers and Recruiters have to screen numerous resumes just to identify a handful of candidates they would like to speak to further regarding an opening. Making it easier for the employer or recruiter to understand just how you can contribute to an organization increases the odds that you’ll make it through the initial screening phase.
Review the job description in detail and make sure that your resume clearly demonstrates how you as a candidate can fulfill what they job poster is seeking. Identify the keywords (specific hard and soft skills) and make sure that they appear within the top third of your resume. The reason for this? Applicant Tracking Systems. If you apply online for a position, you job will be placed into a searchable database. Those keywords can than be easily typed in by an employer or recruiter and resumes with those keywords in them are quickly retrieved and shown to the person searching the database.
3) Send A Cover Letter
If you’re applying for a position directly with an employer or through a contact, you must have a cover letter to accompany your resume. Ideally, it will be addressed to the specific person who will be receiving your resume and considering you as a candidate. With recruiters, it’s different.
We accept resumes on behalf of our clients and often times, those resumes are accompanied by a cover letter, so we are quite used to seeing them. While some recruiters will take the time to review a cover letter others will not, especially if they are time-pressed and dealing with hundreds of applicants a day. Should you still send a cover letter? The short answer is yes, as every recruitment firm and recruiter is different.
Your cover letter should answer questions we might have for you that is not outlined on your resume, or goes a bit more in-depth to let us know how you’d fit. However, DO NOT GET TOO PERSONAL! We DO NOT need to know intimate details of your personal life. Ex: marital status, age, children (if you have them or plan to), etc. Keep it professional and relevant to the job. If there is something personal you’d like to mention, just make sure that relates back to the job itself.
For example: if you reside in Missouri but are applying to a position in Michigan and your resume shows a Missouri address, your cover letter could let the recruiter know that you’re willing to relocate for the job if relocation assistance is part of the package, or let them know if you’re already planning a move at your own expense if relocation is not available. Another example might be if the company is in a certain industry where you not only have professional experience, but also personal interest. For example: the client is a pet care company, or a place where pets are brought to work and you happen to have pets yourself, or volunteer to take care of animals. This let’s the recruiter know that you’re not only okay with animals, but it won’t be an issue for you if you’re hired there.
Your cover letter can be worked into the initial email message you send when applying to an opening through a recruiter and as a separate PDF or Word attachment. Just make sure to reference the job number you are applying to and use the email as an opportunity to clarify any questions not easily answered in your resume. Many recruiters will send a cover letter along with the resume in their candidate submissions to the client.
4) Be Considerate Of The Recruiter’s Time
The average recruiter will get hundreds of emails a day a dozen or more phone calls. Emailing numerous times in a day or calling, if we haven’t contacted you isn’t being ambitious, it’s bordering on outright irritating to the recruiter. Sending a friendly follow-up email or making a single call once a week if you haven’t heard further from us is one thing, showing up at our offices asking to speak with us is a whole other matter. Good recruiters strive to make every candidate feel as if they are the VIP. However, even with the best of intentions, it’s not humanly possible to respond back to every single candidate when they contact us within 24 hours. Things DO happen which impacts our day. Your patience goes a long way and is always appreciated.
Figure out the best time to reach the recruiter you are working with. Perhaps they arrive early to work and like to get settled and go over their day before diving? Contacting them before standard hours may result in a fast response. Be sure to ask the recruiter what the best times to reach them are, and which forms of communication they prefer, and stick to that. You may also want to request the contact information of another recruiter or an assistant who can help you if your primary contact is unavailable.
5) Have Other Job Leads
If you’re conducting a job search, a recruiter should not be your only avenue for finding gainful employment. While we would love to be able to represent the best and brightest talent exclusively, we understand that this is not always possible, nor is in the best interest of the job seeker. Casting a wider net by requesting the assistance of other recruiters, networking and applying on your own is a good way to guarantee that you’ll be able to reduce the time of your search and land a job you’ll love.
If you have an established relationship with a recruiter (you’ve worked with them before in the past) it’s professional courtesy to reach out to them FIRST when you’re on the move. Even if they cannot assist you at that time, they may be able to refer you to colleagues or other industry connections they have who might be able to do so. In addition, many clients require that the recruiters they work with sign an agreement stating that they will not “poach” their current employees or talent that the recruiter has placed there on a temporary or direct hire contract basis – even if it isn’t working out for the talent!
Always ask and be aware of any conflicts of interest that may dictate how you can work with certain types of recruiters. Recruiters cannot recruit talent they’ve placed away from their current clients. They only way they can assist you is if you’ve already departed, or the employer is no longer a client of theirs.