It’s not that recruiters aren’t capable of thinking and working hard. Of course they are! But here’s what smart and successful job seekers have learned: they must position themselves to be easy to hire!
In other words, they don’t make recruiters have to think, or work harder than they must.
YOU MUST Tell Them What You Want to Do – What Job You Want
Don’t expect a recruiter or employer to look at your resume and figure out what you can do and where you could fit into their organization. Most employers or recruiters have way too much to do to provide you with career coaching and/or mind-reading services.
Networking contacts, no matter how well-intentioned, won’t be able to help you without knowing what you want to do. They can’t read your mind any better than an employer or recruiter. Make it easy for people to help you by helping them know what you want.
Apply specifically for a job you know (or suspect) they have open or will have open in the future.
Clearly Align Your Experience with Requirements
When you are submitting your resume for a job, don’t make the person reading your resume wonder why you applied for their job. Tell them why. You do that 2 ways:
Only apply for jobs for which you are a good fit. Look at the job’s requirements and the skills, experience, and education they they want in an applicant. Don’t waste your time, or the recruiter’s, applying for something that’s not a good match.
You’re thinking, “Why not give it a try, just in case?”
They’re thinking, “Can’t this idiot read?”
Do it often enough with the same recruiter, and you’ll be training that recruiter to just tune you out.Think of applying for a job as a sales campaign. Take the time to do it right (customized resume and cover letter, etc.), and focus on the right jobs for you.
Tell them how you are a good match in the cover letter, and show them in the resume. In the cover letter, list the job’s requirements and match those requirements specifically with the skills or experience you have that are appropriate. Customize your resume so that the relevant skills and experience are highlighted. Leave out the things that aren’t relevant to this job, unless your resume is only 1 page long. If you haven’t had much response to your resume, have a mentor take a look, or get professional help.
Follow the Directions
Duh! Who doesn’t follow directions? You’d be amazed! Job seekers in a rush, apparently…
Recently, a recruiter put a sentence in a Monster job posting asking applicants to include a one-paragraph description of their most significant accomplishment of the past year.
Only 4 in 20 applicants included an accomplishment, and only 1 of the 4 linked that accomplishment to the job they were seeking.
So, only 1 out of every 20 applicants got through the initial screening. By actually reading the entire posting, following the directions, and aligning their response to the needs of the job, they jumped over 95% of their competition!
Don’t Make Them Work to Remember
Stay in touch, in context.
Follow up your resume and cover letter with a phone call, but don’t expect them to know you. Give them the context. Tell them your name, the job you want (and its requisition number or any other administrative identifier it might have, if you know it), and when you applied for it. Follow with a “soft” sales pitch, giving a summary of your qualifications for the job and emphasizing your interest in it.
Then, politely ask what is happening with the job you are seeking (what progress is being made, when are people going to be called in to interview, when the decision is going to be made, etc.)
Ask for Permission to Stay in Touch
After you’ve discovered the status, ask them if you can call back in a week (or 2 weeks or the end of the week – what ever seems appropriate after you’ve learned the status of their applicant search). Most times, if you are in any way qualified, they will tell you it’s OK to stay in touch.
However, if they tell you not to bother, then move on to another opportunity, if you have one. If it’s a job you really want, but they’ve told you not to bother staying in touch, you might try one more contact to see if you just caught someone at a bad time or in a bad mood. If you receive 2 “go away” messages, pay attention, and move on.
Polite Persistence Is Powerful
When you have permission to stay in touch, DO stay in touch. Politely. When you said that you would, or when they told you you could.
Follow up. Find out what’s happening with the job you want – ask them for other similar opportunities if this one falls through.
Keep things in context – don’t expect them to remember you, although by the 3rd or 4th phone call to the same person, they probably will.
It always seems to take too long to land a job, but it will happen. Just keep trying and keep your spirits up. And whatever you do… make the recruiter’s job easy!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Job-Hunt.org!
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter and on Google+.
© Copyright, 2010, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved. Used with permission.