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Using a Recruiter & Other Search Strategies

by Kim on January 12, 2012

Many job seekers hold the misperception that once their resume crosses a recruiter’s desk, their search is over…their phone will ring and they will then land their dream job. That’s not quite the case, and recently, I asked several recruiters about their recruiting activities to help dispel the notion that using a recruiter is going to solve your job search problems.

Before you contact a recruiter or recruiting firm, be sure you understand the basic differences between two types of recruiters – contingency and retained.  Retained Search firms are “retained,” (hence the name) by companies to fill a specific position. Contingency Search firms (or a single recruiter are usually one of numerous possible other recruiters used by an organization, with the paid to first recruiter who places the candidate.

When working with a recruiter who has been retained to fill a position, you need to realize that unless your qualifications are an exact match to their client’s needs, you won’t be considered for any opening. That doesn’t mean that the recruiter isn’t interested in you but it does mean that his/her focus is filling the position for which they have been retained, i.e., promoting the candidate who will, hopefully, be the best fit.

With today’s high unemployment rate, it’s understandable that people are desperate to find work, which can lead to a proliferation of resume distribution to several companies and numerous recruiters. Frequently, this also translates to literally hundreds of resumes received for ONE open position, from individuals who do not meet the requirements/qualifications for that opening. If you aren’t hearing back from either the company or recruiter, it’s likely that either your resume isn’t the most competitive one out there or that there are no openings which match your qualifications.

Because of this, many job seekers feel frustrated and not well attended to since they don’t receive an answer back.  This can lead to recruiters getting a “bad rap,” when they really have done nothing wrong. When using a retained recruiter, it is not their job to find you a position no matter how much they like your qualifications, which is why using recruiters should be only ONE part of your overall job search strategy. Utilize personal and social networking (such as, identify opportunities on your own, perform company research, peruse various job board openings and consider mass resume distribution via a quality site. Routine follow-up and targeted resumes and cover letters  should also  be part of your search provided you have the qualifications listed in the posting.

Before you DO embark on your search and implement these search strategies, you should also make sure you are using a resume that impressively yet clearly states your qualifications, skills and achievements. If you don’t include accomplishments, it doesn’t matter how “pretty” your resume looks or what you’ve contributed in the past — if those results aren’t included in your resume, how is the reader supposed to know? A successful job search will be a combination of using the right tools (including recruiters), targeting the right audience, diligently engaging in the sometimes “dreaded” networking, ensuring you have a quality, value-added resume and learning to be a bit patient as you compete with thousands of others who are in the same boat.

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