Though it sounds trite, “help us – help you” is a true statement in the professional search business.  Understanding the basic fundamentals of working with a recruiter can not only help you find success sooner and easier, but can make the experience enjoyable for both you and your recruiter.  Here are five quick tips I would tell anyone working with a recruiter to find their next career move.

ManWomanLaptop1)  Know your career goals and objectives:

Tired of business formal everyday?  Or just want a change of scenery and more flexibility?  Not fond of your co-workers and need a different corporate culture? Or do you want a new job with better compensation and career trajectory than your current job?  Do you see yourself on the road to being a Controller of a Fortune 500 company in the retail industry in precisely five years?  As a recruiter, these are things I want the candidate to communicate to me.  Be articulate with what you want in your career, and know the details of what you envision for yourself in both the short and long term.  Think about next year, then five and ten years down the road.  Work with your recruiter to help them understand these career goals and objectives.

2) Understand your best skills and experiences:

Everyone trying to find a job should not only have a resume that details their skills and experiences, but should be able to convey what these are with their recruiter by drawing on specifics.  Having a concise summary of each skillset and experience, coupled with knowing your career goals will make it easier for your recruiter to showcase you to potential employers.  For example, if your goal is to be a Sr. Project Manager, what were the detailed personal, functional, and technical skills you developed and employed while “managing a 10-person team on a 4 month project implementing a technology solution”? In order to reach your goal, you have to know your own skills and experiences and think through how they support your goals and objectives.

3)  Communicate properly and professionally

Maybe it’s because recruiters are generally friendly and outgoing that potential candidates think they can treat their recruiters like an old friend instead of a professional contact and relationship.  If you’re working with a recruiter, chances are you are looking to make a professional change in your career.  With that said, disregarding the professional nature of interactions with a recruiter is very common, and examples include brushing off recruiters you have contacted, or responding to them with text message e-mail. This includes, but is not limited to, fragments instead of complete sentences, online text abbreviations (BRB, LOL, TTYL, GTG, etc.) careless grammar (you’re instead of your, their instead of there) and spelling errors.   The recruiter isn’t making the hiring decision so who cares, right?!!!  Not so. Your recruiter is your personal advocate for companies with the positions you are seeking.  Disregarding the need to be professional only conveys you are not to be taken seriously, you are careless and not worth further networking with (if you don’t make the time, why should your recruiter?)

Another common lack of professionalism I’ve noticed is when candidates are not completely honest with their own professional background and history.  This includes exaggerating an experience or former role, such as trying to pass off a prior experience as financial analysis when in reality you were doing data entry.  How about omitting the fact that you were actually a contractor versus a full time employee for a company or withholding information that is probably important to your recruiter (for example, you have already applied to this company but it was so long ago, who remembers anyway?).  Basically, honesty is the best policy and anything that you are concerned with about your resume should be communicated to your recruiter.  It’s true that candidates exaggerate on their resumes, but in order for us to represent you with integrity, we need to know exactly what you have done.  If you can demonstrate you can learn the skill quickly without much training in the past, the interview process will help you to make that point, not lying on your resume.

4)  Do your own homework

If you have had a stable position and just started looking to transition from one job to another and make a career move for the better, you probably haven’t had much extra homework recently.  But here’s where it begins, because contrary to popular belief, your recruiter is not your personal agent.  The recruiter works for the client and therefore has a limited amount of opportunities available which may or may not be a good fit for you. Should you move forward in the process with our clients, I’ll ask you to do your homework to prepare for the interviews.  However, as a BlueSky recruiter, my objective is to do what’s best for the client AND the candidate, which means sometimes having the difficult conversation with you that our current opportunities may not suit you at this time.  I can advise you on other networking methods or suggest a new direction.  Sometimes you may have to find an additional recruiter with different opportunities (even if you really clicked with your recruiter).

5)  Be patient and positive

Getting hired in this age and day is very exhaustive.  Firms want to invest their time and money in the best possible candidate and if that indeed is you, it will happen, but probably not immediately.  It is imperative to have a positive and patient attitude to sanely survive the process, so manage your expectations.  Listen to your recruiter and stick with them.  Applying directly or circumventing the recruiter can often derail the hiring process.  No great feat was ever attained easily and as Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” so don’t give up and don’t freak out if you don’t hear back as soon as you had hoped for.  Patience, perseverance, and a positive attitude will not only get you through the difficult process of finding a new job or career, but help you demonstrate the type of worker you’ll be once you are placed, patient and positive.  Because who doesn’t want to work with someone who has the right skills and attitudes, including those two qualities?