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Building Effective Relationships with Recruiters

By Abby Locke

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Richard Kolker / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Abby M. Locke, president of Premier Writing Solutions, is a Certified Executive Resume-Writer and Personal Brand Coach who supports senior-level finance, accounting and technology professionals in career transition with the development of customized, branded executive resumes and career marketing documents.

Building Effective Relationships with Recruiters

Today's highly competitive job market requires you to employ various strategies when conducting a job search. One such method is partnering with a recruiter which can help maximize your efforts. If you have never built an effective relationship with a recruiter, it is not too late to start. Before you jump out there and start calling or emailing every recruiter listed on the Internet, here are some quick facts you should know about recruiters and their daily job responsibilities:

  • They spend about four to five hours a day on the phone
  • They make contact with about 500 people every week
  • They can receive anywhere from 500 to 1,000 emails every day
  • They rely on their network for current industry information and market trends
  • They are compensated for finding the right candidate for their client companies

    Now that you have a mental picture of a recruiter's daily challenges, here are some highly recommended strategies you should use in order to get a recruiter's attention.

    Have Specific Job Targets
    Recruiters are usually specialized by industry and/or function. For example, a recruiter may only work with healthcare professionals while another may specialize in placing Executives in all industries. A recruiter's primary goal is to make a placement, so if you are unclear about your job targets or you are open to any opportunity that comes up, a recruiter is probably not your best option.

    Have a Well-Defined Message
    Whether your first contact with a recruiter is by telephone or by email, you must be able to quickly articulate your core competencies and qualifications, describe the value you bring to the table and provide evidence of your career achievements. Prepare and practice your 30-second elevator pitch.

    Develop a Comprehensive Resume
    Regardless of what highs and lows your career progression may have taken, recruiters need to know the details about every position you held ­ even the ones that only lasted three months. While you may choose to minimize employment gaps on the resume you send directly to employers, you need to be upfront and honest with the recruiter about everything. Your resume should have the dates for every position (starting and ending) and the graduation years in the education section despite your age. Top tier degrees should be listed on the first page of the resume and use a bulleted format to highlight your quantifiable accomplishments. Tip: If you are concerned about revealing too much, you can create a separate resume that is just for recruiters only.

    Use a Table in the Cover Letter
    When responding to a listed advertisement, inserting a table with two columns in a cover letter will allow the recruiter to quickly scan the document and decide whether you are match. Use one column to list the job's required experience and qualifications and list your corresponding qualifications in a second column. With over 500 candidates competing for the recruiter's attention, don't leave anything to chances.

    Develop a Compelling Subject Line
    A compelling subject line message will increase your chances of getting the recruiter to open your email right away. Use something to make an immediate connection - if you were referred by someone or met the recruiter recently at a networking event, put that in the subject line.

    Think Twice About Email Blasts
    Technology can be both your friend and enemy in your job search. The high volume of email received by recruiters has prompted high levels of email filtering and bulk mail settings. While you may have the opportunity to send your resume and cover letter to 500 recruiters, there is no guarantee that it will be seen. In addition, there are some recruiters who may choose to ignore resumes sent through bulk mail as they view the candidates as being unfocused.

    Be Honest
    There are consequences to lying, omissions and misrepresentations made to a recruiter. First of all, a majority of recruiters use Google, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo and other business and social networking sites to learn more about candidates. Consequently, being dishonest and hiding critical facts are the fastest ways to ruin a relationship with a recruiter.

    Have Something to Offer
    A relationship with a recruiter is like any other relationship and there needs to be equal give and take. If you have qualified contacts, industry insights or current market news that the recruiter can use, be the first one to offer a helping hand - you will reap the benefits in the long run.

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