For this post I had the privilege of speaking with a Recruiter for one of the largest worldwide professional services networks. I reached out to her because she is an expert in recruiting and hiring, and after years of experience in this area, I highly regard her opinion on all things related to job candidates.

To protect her privacy I won’t mention her name, but in a very honest and direct conversation, she revealed to me the three big things that every Recruiter expects a job candidate to do.  Keep reading to learn the three things you need to do to immediately level-up in your job search.

1. Use your personal and social networks to pursue job opportunities

Networking is still the best way to get a job. “You should know someone,” she told me.  Knowing someone who can refer you for an opportunity not only makes life easy on the recruiter who has to sift through hundreds, thousands of candidates, but it increases your visibility and improves your chances of being selected for an interview.

Making the right connections while networking improves your chances of being selected for an interview. Click To Tweet

If you’re cringing right now at the thought of having to get out and network – then stop and think beyond meeting strangers at after work happy hours. The easiest networking begins with people that you already know.

The easiest networking begins with people that you already know. Click To Tweet

Make a list of 10-15 people that you have good relationships with.  Where do they work? What professional associations are they a part of? Who do they know or have relationships with? Sometimes it’s as easy as reaching out to someone you already know, sharing your professional story, and asking them to help make a connection or introduction for you.

2. Demonstrate business etiquette in every interaction, no excuses

Recruiters are evaluating you in every step of the job application process – and how you interact and communicate with them can make or break your chances of being considered for the job.

I learned that this recruiter actually deletes a lot of applicant emails because they lack business etiquette, professionalism, or relevance. So make sure you’re reaching out to someone who’s actually in a position to help you (i.e. Don’t contact a campus recruiter if you’re an experienced engineer looking for a new job.)

Here’s how to better demonstrate business etiquette in your job search:

  • Do your homework before cold contacting a recruiter.  Make sure the recruiter you’re writing is the right point of contact for the job you’re pursuing.
  • Introduce yourself when sending an email. State who you are, why you’re writing, and the position that you are interested in. While recruiters appreciate brevity, messages that skip a basic intro are considered unprofessional.
  • Graciously move on if you were not selected for the job. Janice told me she is often ‘harassed’ by candidates who simply won’t take no for an answer and send her multiple emails. One follow-up email is standard, and if you don’t receive a response it is best to move on. There’s a difference between being proactive vs. harassing a recruiter.

3. Know what you want and be specific about it

Candidates say all the time that they are willing to work anywhere and will do anything.  But what this says to a recruiter is that you actually aren’t sure about what you want.”  Employers interpret the “I’ll-do-anything” attitude to mean you’ll simply be a short-term hire, and they are less likely to invest in you.

Being specific about what you want is more attractive to employers than saying ‘send me anywhere’. Click To Tweet

To keep from making this mistake when speaking to recruiters, be clear about the type of work you want to do, share your career goals, and tell the recruiter the type of positions you’d like to be considered for.

Some Practical Next Steps

Here’s what I want you to do: Log into your LinkedIn or email account and read the most recent messages that you sent to potential employers.  Look to see if there are any opportunities for improvement. Did you cold-contact the company? Or did you use your network to refer you? Did you introduce yourself in the opening of the message? Did you clearly state what you wanted?  On a scale of 1-5 how well would you rate yourself?

I want to hear how you rated! Leave me a comment below and let’s discuss.

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