As professional recruiters, our goal is to match talent with the open opportunities we are working to fill on behalf of our clients as quickly and efficiently as possible. Great positions don’t stay open for long, that’s why it is so important for you as a job seeker to be at the top of your game and ready to move quick.
Tips & Pro Hacks To Improve Your Job Search
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.) In some cases, applicants may share the same or a similar name as another applicant and could cause some confusion when identifying who is who, and other times applicants don’t even include their name–just the job posting’s title or job number.
Always put your first name, middle initial (if you have one), last name, title, and any requested info listed in the posting in the naming convention of your resume file. This way, we can easily identify you and ensure you’re considered for all the openings that are a match.
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 on your behalf.
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 is being sought after, or what you can do for them. Identify the keywords (specific hard and soft skills) and try to incorporate them within the top third of your resume. The reason to do this is a piece of software that many organizations use called an Applicant Tracking System. When you apply online for a position your application, including your resume, will be placed into a searchable database. The keywords that you’ve incorporated are used by an employer or recruiter to search through their applicant database for resumes matching the specified keywords that were entered.
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 short on time 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 any questions a potential employer might have for you that is not already outlined in your resume regarding the opening. 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 or LinkedIn profile 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.
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 and a dozen or more phone calls. Sending a friendly follow-up email or making a single call once a week if you haven’t heard further from the recruiter is one thing, showing up at their office asking to speak with them 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 always possible to respond back to every single candidate within 24 hours.
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. Never worked with recruiters before? Check out our Working With Recruiters articles.
5) Have Other Job Leads
If you’re conducting a job search, an individual recruiter should not be your only avenue for finding gainful employment. While most recruiters would love to be able to represent the best and brightest talent exclusively, they 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 considered a 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 you, 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. The only way they can assist you is if you’ve already departed, or the employer is no longer a client of theirs.