You’ve been searching for work on your own for a long time now, and just today you received an email message from a local recruiter. The message described an available position just a few miles away from you, and as far as you can tell, this position is absolutely perfect.
But since the recruiter didn’t mention the company name, you’ll have to go through her if you want to pursue the opportunity. What happens next? Once you let this recruiter know you’re interested, how can you convince her to focus her attention on your candidacy and help you get your foot in the door with these employers?
1. Respond to the message, and do it fast. Chances are, she sent an identical message to dozens of other potential candidates she found in her resume database who have credentials similar to yours. So you’ll need to act fast if you want to step ahead of these other contenders. Write her a quick, polite, articulate message saying you’d like to hear more about the job. Include your phone number in the message and let her know the best time to call you.
2. Get your resume ready. Even before the recruiter calls or sends another message responding to your interest, start polishing your resume and tailoring it to the needs and requirements of this position. Make sure your summary reflects your experience with this kind of work.
3. When the recruiter calls or reaches out to you, listen carefully, and read between the lines of her written messages. At this point, she’ll be letting you know what these employers consider must-haves and she’ll probably reveal some hints about the culture in this workplace. But she’ll speak in positive terms, so it will be up to you to listen carefully and respond quickly and tactfully with questions if you hear anything you don’t like.
4. Don’t talk exclusively about money. It’s okay to ask for a salary range, but if you seem solely focused on what’s in it for you, she may lose interest and move on to the next candidate.
5. Make yourself available. After you’ve sent your resume and she’s had a chance to look it over, be ready to meet, video chat, or agree to a phone interview as soon as your schedule allows. It’s up to her to decide if she’d like to present you to the employers, but if she asks to meet you, don’t hem and haw about the details—just say yes.
6. Take your recruiter interview seriously—as seriously as you would take an interview directly with an employer. Dress for success, be prepared, show respect, and arrive 10 minutes early.
7. Go easy on the follow up. We’re always taught to be aggressive and persistent when it comes to checking in with people who can help us, but keep in mind that this recruiter isn’t working for you (she’s working for her employer clients) and you aren’t paying her a dime. Don’t badger her with emails and constant phone calls. One call or message per week will be just fine.
8. Tell your recruiter the truth and don’t lie or exaggerate. Honesty will help her to help you. It will also make her more willing to stand behind you and put her reputation on the line for you when she presents you to her clients.
Most important, have your resume ready to hand over, make sure it represents you well, and be ready to make some adjustments in response to your recruiter’s advice. Start by visiting MyPerfectResume to create a professionally formatted draft that can be adapted to the needs of each position you choose to pursue.