A recruiter’s success is based on finding the right talent to help client companies hire the best person. Knowing how to help recruiters recruit you will go a long way in demonstrating that you are the best candidate!
This article presents key tips from executive recruiters Al Chase, David Teten and Michael Robinson on what recruiters expect from top-tier candidates. Make their job easier, and distinguish yourself in a positive way. The results could lead to your next opportunity.
1. Cookie-Cutter Resumes and Letters Don’t Cut It
Remember that you are unique. What accomplishments, experiences and personal qualities do you offer that will give you an edge over others with similar job titles, employment backgrounds and educational credentials? Communicate what makes you distinct.
Cookie-cutter documents communicate lack of creativity, and mass mailed or generalized materials are easy to spot by savvy recruiters. Avoid large untargeted resumes blasted to search firms who are not specialists in your field; they will likely be relegated to the unsolicited file never to see the light of day.
When responding to a recruiter’s ad, customize your cover letters and resumes to complement the specific requirements of each position. Addressing a letter to “Dear Recruiter” when the ad lists their name will not score points! Recruiters notice the details, so address your cover letter to the recruiter by name.
2. Only the Qualified Get Invited to the “Dance”
The Internet has dramatically changed how job searches are conducted. With the click of a mouse, you can distribute your resume to thousands of employers and search firms around the globe.
With search firms, however, it’s not a numbers game and never has been. The best way to gain credibility with recruiters is to apply only for positions for which you are qualified. Sorting through the large volume of unqualified resumes that recruiters receive takes precious time. Therefore, scrutinize each ad carefully for the list of qualifications. Ads for positions that are not a good match or only vaguely appeal to you won’t get you closer to your ultimate goal of landing a new position. Save your time, and respect the recruiters’ time, by concentrating on the ads for which you meet most, if not all, of the requirements.
3. Accept “No” For an Answer
Recruiters are not shy. If you’re a match for a search they are working on, you will be the first to know. By the same token, know when to accept a “no” and avoid calling repeatedly for months after a search is completed. If you do, this is one bridge you are likely to burn.
If you didn’t get the job because another candidate was more qualified, gracefully accept this decision. Conduct a productive search campaign by focusing your efforts on pursuing multiple opportunities simultaneously so that your entire search does rely on one particular position at a time. This can set you up for tremendous disappointment, not to mention a huge waste of time.
4. Call First and Wait For an Invite
Unemployed executives have been known to show up unannounced at recruiters’ offices expecting a short interview or conversation. Place yourself in their situation. Would you be willing to be interrupted to meet with some stranger? Even if they are available at that moment, they are not likely to see you. Wait for an invitation!
5. Digital Decorum and Distinction
When communicating by email, recruiters offer the following “digital dos and don’ts” tips for winning them over. Here’s how:
- Avoid writing emails in ALL CAPS and inserting emoticons
- Email your resume as an MS Word attachment (unless otherwise requested). Don’t send a PDF file; they are difficult to forward, need specific software and take too long to download. Don’t send a ZIP file because email cannot detect viruses common in ZIP files, so recruiters often don’t risk opening them. Don’t send MAC files. Time is of essence, and MS Word is the quick and easy business standard
- Name your resume and cover letter file by LastnameFirstname2006Resume. For example: SmithJohn2006Resume. It’s easy to find, easy to file and easy to identify. Recruiters want to match you, but can’t possibly sort through hundreds of “resume.doc” files to locate your documents. Make yourself easy to find and easy to remember. This small professional touch can help make you stand out in the recruiter’s mind—and database.
- Make your ASCII (text only) resume work for you. Avoid tables, columns, boxes and templates since they usually get garbled in translation. Recruiters recommend “taking your resume for a test drive”—check it out first by copying and pasting it into WordPad. Remember, not only does your resume need to be easily scanned, it also needs to be stored for future job matches.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it does highlight the virtually non-negotiable requirements recruiters look for in savvy candidates. Use these tips to effectively manage your search … they can make all the difference in getting recruiters to call YOU over the competition!
Louise Garver is the president of Career Directions LLC. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach with extensive experience in recruitment, outplacement and career management. Her articles have been featured on leading employment websites and her work has been published in numerous resume and cover letter books.