For many executives, direct networking is often the best way to get your foot in in the door and land a new job. After all, it is often about who you know. Fortunately, we live in a time where contacting industry recruiters is a viable option to further your career.
However, it is important to keep in mind that recruiters receive thousands of unsolicited resumes. Therefore, you must make yourself stand out in order to foster a beneficial networking relationship that can help you manage your career.
Here are some tips to get yourself noticed by recruiters:
Since it is hard to get noticed, it is best to introduce yourself to recruiters and get on their radar well before you actually need their services. When you are in transition and need to step into a new position, it can be difficult to begin seeking the help of a recruiter. You must build that relationship long before you need it.
Filter Your Recruiter Contacts
First, it is important to narrow your recruiter contacts to those in your general geographical area and your industry. If you go outside of that, the recruiters either will not respond or it ends up being a waste of time for you and the recruiter. You want someone who can help you utilize the skills and expertise you already have; therefore, it makes sense to stay within your geographical area and industry.
Furthermore, be personable. It is not surprising that recruiters often ignore correspondence sent out via mass emails. Take the time to personalize your messages. Think of it this way: Are you going to respond to a message in which you know the same content has been sent to 100 other people? Most likely not. If you want to build a relationship with a recruiter with the intention of having him/her help your career, it pays to be personable and customize your message.
Create a Compelling Story
Part of the reason it is so important to start networking with recruiters early, is that you need to create a compelling story that demonstrates your value. Your resume and LinkedIn profile should reflect your STAR stories to make you stand out as an industry expert. When you send your resume or connect over LinkedIn, your STAR stories will catch the attention of recruiters who can help manage your career.
When you contact a recruiter, be specific about your needs. Tell the recruiter exactly what your current and future goals are and how you see the recruiter helping you achieve those goals. Specificity is crucial because anything generic or vague will not earn you a response.
Curtail Your Expectations
Remember that you must foster a relationship with the recruiter in order to be considered for recommendations. Thus, you cannot expect a job recommendation after your first interaction. Also, you cannot expect the recruiter to drop everything and meet with you after one introduction either. Asking for the recruiter’s time is typically only well-received after you have fostered a positive networking relationship. Only after the recruiter is acquainted with you, your story, and your goals and you have spent time demonstrating your expertise to that recruiter, can you expect his or her to recommend you for a job. After all, his or her reputation is on the line as well. Remember, the recruiter doesn’t work for you; they work for the client hiring them to fill the position.