Recruiters can be the key to a successful employment search as you embark on your new career in sales. Many of us know of someone who got an out-of-the-blue call from a recruiter, which led to a new career opportunity. Though these recruiters work for the hiring companies on a retained (getting an upfront fee) or contingency basis (getting paid upon a successful search) there are ways to position yourself to get their attention. Here are a few tips and advantages in working with recruiters:
Examine your own network and beyond: Your circle of friends and your professional contacts can help develop job leads, and also serve as a source for recruiting advice. Ask around if they have worked with recruiters before, and develop a list of those who have had positive experiences. A Wall Street Journal how-to guide for seeking out recruiters says: “Don’t be discouraged if the list you compile is short. In certain niche markets, there are recruiters who pretty much work with all big players, so you’ll typically hear the same name several times.”
Initiate contact: If your network search has helped you to identify some well-regarded recruiters, you don’t have to wait for them to find you. In a New York Times article titled “Recruiting a Recruiter for Your Next Job,” Eilene Zimmerman writes that a cover letter can address why you’re seeking a new job. This might feature information you wouldn’t normally include, says Dave Mason of recruiting firm The Judson Group. “Good reasons would be you’ve lost confidence in the direction of management, the company or the team,” Mason says in the story. “It could be your line of business has been restructured, and it’s hurt your ability to do your job.” Keep in mind that requesting confidentiality is key here, as Zimmerman’s story notes. Most professionals don’t want their employers to know that they’re digging around for a new gig.
Gain additional access: If you hear about someone getting hired for a job you covet, but you had no idea of the job opening, it may be because the company turned to a recruiter instead of the usual employment services and websites. Recruiting service Peters Search Group calls this the “hidden” job market in a story on its website: “Companies know that the best talent is produced through a recruiter who they have partnered with that knows their needs. The recruiter can produce three to five candidates available for an interview with a relatively short period of time — saving time and money.” If you’ve successfully put yourself on a recruiter’s radar, you’ll have a better shot at getting that job opportunity.
Take advantage of LinkedIn: This is crucial to getting recruiters’ attention. A 2013 survey by Jobvite showed that 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn for their candidate searches. So be sure that your profile is current and thorough. If you’re trying to connect with a recruiter, see what LinkedIn contacts you share, which could lead to a more direct introduction, says career coach Melissa Llarena in a story for Forbes. “The benefit of reaching out to one of these shared connections beforehand is that you have the opportunity to get a sense of how the recruiter operates,” Llarena writes. “They may prefer an email rather than a LinkedIn request or some other form of communication. Gather as much information on the recruiter as you can so that you can approach the person strategically. Also see if you can use the connection’s name as a referral once it’s time to reach out to the recruiter, making the outreach more personalized. You have one chance to make a first impression, so determine your communication plan prior to outreach.”