As you look for a job, know that companies prefer to hire employees based on referrals. Employers like to hire people who have good recommendations from someone they can trust. So when you connect with a recruiter, you are connecting with someone who can also tell an employer about your experience and your skills. A recruiter’s job is to bring employers and employees together, so it will benefit you to have a strong long-term relationship with your recruiter. How can you create that relationship?
- Find a recruiter. This may seem obvious, but you can’t build a relationship if you don’t know where to start. Begin by looking at well-established staffing agencies such as Creative Staffing to set up a meeting with their professional recruiters. If possible, go through a friend or colleague who already uses them so you can establish a mutual connection. And if you know of an acquaintance who is hiring and could use a recruiter to find employees, let the recruiter know.
- Make yourself a strong candidate. Have a resume and cover letter that makes your best qualities stand out. Use bullet points in the resume to make it easy to read: A recruiter only takes a quick look, so you have to make sure you make it clear why you’re better than the competition. Check everything for errors and have someone else look at everything as well. When sending the recruiter an email, make sure the subject line mentions the position you want.
- Be honest. Talk to your recruiter about any gaps or lay-offs in your work history: If a recruiter does a background check (as many employers do), you don’t want him to be surprised. Tell what skills and experience you have, and don’t add anything that isn’t true. Also, be honest about what you want for a salary and what you want from a job. The more you can tell the recruiter, the better he will be able to help match you with the right position.
- Help the recruiter remember you. A bad way to build a relationship is to email weekly asking about jobs or saying you’re still looking. A good way is to let them know if your situation changes (for example, you find a job). Look regularly at the jobs the recruiter posts and call if you see one that you think is a good fit for you. If you read something connected to what they do, send it along, or share the name of another candidate for another job the recruiter posts. If you help him, he is more likely to help you.
Once you get a job, be sure to thank your recruiter and email once in a while to let them know how you’re doing and to thank them again for their help. Who knows when you may need each other in the future? Taking the time to establish a relationship with your recruiter will only benefit you in the end.