J Patrick + Associates Blog

The LinkedIn Checklist: Your Advantage To Getting Hired

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Aug 09, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

LinkedIn Checklist: Your advantage to getting hired

Every day at J. Patrick + Associates, we see first-hand the intense competition in the job market.  Trust us in saying that anything you can do to help your chances is definitely something you should do. 

One of the most important recruiting tools in the JP+A tool kit is LinkedIn Recruiter.  The tool enables our recruiters to find the right candidate for the job almost 100 percent of the time.

Your LinkedIn profile is something that you shouldn’t take lightly--you never know who could be around the corner looking at your profile.  In fact, it could be the employer of your dreams looking for that certain someone to bring on board.

There are many different items you could add to your LinkedIn profile.  But which ones are the most important?

How to Optimize Your LinkedIN profile 

For starters you’ll want to add a professional picture. This is often the first thing that draws in potential employers.  Remember, once it’s out there, anyone can see it. If it is inappropriate for your industry, chances are you will not be hearing from any recruiters or hiring managers.

Another must-have in your LinkedIn profile is a detailed professional summary. Don’t be afraid to showcase your areas of expertise and other skills in which you excel.  If a hiring manager or recruiter stumbles upon your profile and your summary is top notch, they’re likely to be very optimistic when viewing the rest of your profile.

This next tip may be the most important.  When building your LinkedIn profile, don’t skimp on the job descriptions.  Detail, detail, detail! Let everyone know what you did, how you did it, and when you did it.  Many times the recruiters at J. Patrick + Associates have come across profiles that list high-ranking, important, even mission-critical jobs.  Unfortunately, all too often there’s just not enough information there to connect them with the job requirements that the recruiters must fill.

Also, your educational background is a fundamental component of a complete and professional LinkedIn profile.  Ensure that you enumerate and describe all the degrees that you have earned.  Listing your colleges may also help in another way: if the recruiter or hiring manager sees that you went to the same college as they did, it’s frequently a leg up.

On LinkedIn, just as in the old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar job hunt, you must connect with people.  Connecting in LinkedIn is extremely important; it helps you distribute your profile and your personal brand throughout the LinkedIn network. 

Furthermore, ask your contacts to endorse you.  Endorsements, like references, serve to showcase your capabilities as a professional and your desirable qualities as a person.  People trust and value people who are already trusted and valued by others.

Speaking of reputation management, are there any articles that talk about you in a positive light? For that matter, have you published any articles showcasing your experience and expertise?  If so, definitely add these to your LinkedIn profile.  Publications that showcase your abilities and past success could be the tipping point that gets you on a future employer or recruiter’s short list.

Last but not least, provide your contact information.  Be as complete as possible. Whether it’s an email address, phone number, both, or more, remember that LinkedIn is your tool to connect with potential employers. You can’t harness the power of the Internet without connecting - and nothing is more frustrating for a recruiter than a possible candidate that cannot be contacted.  While a recruiter or hiring manager could certainly send you an inbox message via LinkedIn, don’t let this be your primary means of contact.

LinkedIn has grown to become one of the most important business social media sites in the world today, and it is only getting bigger.  With around 225 million users (and growing) you have to do all you can to stand out from the crowd.


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Social Media, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

What Are The Most Sought After IT Positions?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

What Are the Most Sought After IT Positions?

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                Today’s world is driven by technology and the only way to succeed and prosper within it is to evolve and innovate.  IT infrastructure, Internet accessibility and a strong web presence are all essential to the successful modern-day business.  It is for this reason that IT jobs are quickly becoming some of the most import jobs available.  J Patrick and Associates specializes in the placement of these highly sought-after individuals.  Leveraging years of experience and expertise within IT recruiting, our company finds the best candidates to fill today’s critical IT positions, including:

1)      Project Managers

-          Project Managers are brought in to oversee all the operations and make sure everything is running smoothly.  These IT Project Managers are tech-savvy as well and they help to get the motor running so that work is completed efficiently and effectively, within the specified time and budget parameters.  Having a good project manager will impact your business positively in the long run.

 

-          Average Salary: $98,000

 

2)      Software Engineers and Developers

-          Software Engineers and Developers are the heart and soul of any computer-based company. Nowadays, these types of positions typically require a Computer Science degree; any potential candidate would be hard-pressed to find a job without it.  Considering that they create “grounds that everyone else walks upon”, hiring managers must be completely sure that they have hired the right people to take on this important task.

 

-          Average Salary: $85,000

 

3)      Business and Systems Analyst

-          These are two of the most sought-after IT positions because they involve setting goals and objectives based on numbers.  Business and Systems Analysts are also business-minded: they are in charge of setting business strategies and forecasting future projections.  Business and Systems Analysts are also in charge of keeping a close eye on the market in order to monitor and implement technical innovations and technological advances. 

 

-          Average Salary: $78,000

 

4)      Web Developers

-          Web developers are highly sought-after professionals.  As ‘behind the scene’ people, Web developers are proficient in various types of software.  Being tech-savvy coupled with resourcefulness and imaginations enables them to fluently design websites to be user-friendly, creative and engaging.  Without them, your company wouldn’t have essential web presence, limiting its marketability and thus negatively affecting its bottom line.

 

-          Average Salary: $77,000

 

 5)      Computer Programmers

-          Computer programmers are in charge of the everyday computer tasks.  Including design, writing, testing, debugging, and maintenance of computer program source codes.  They are highly proficient in innovative technologies, software, hardware, and programming languages.

 

-          Average Salary: $72,000

 

Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

How To Evaluate A Recruiting Firm

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Jul 01, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

How to Evaluate a Recruiting Firm

When it’s time to hire a new employee, you want to select the best one possible.  Hiring the wrong person is extremely costly and no business can afford to make that mistake.  Considering this, many companies decide to use a staffing agency or a recruiting firm to help fill critically positions in the organization.

The problem is that few companies do their homework.  Companies usually choose the firm that’s first on their mind instead of choosing the right staffing agency.  This is not good, at all.  Given the risks of wrong-hiring it is crucial to evaluate a recruiting firm before deciding to do business with them.  The fact of the matter is that when you use a recruiting firm to get an employee, you pay a commission to that recruiting firm.  If you are using the wrong recruiting firm for your needs, chances are, you will get the wrong employee as well.  This is just like throwing a lot of money out your window, so it’s vital to use the right hiring firm for the job.

Another significant factor when selecting a recruiting firm is trust.  You must be able to place trust in the firm your hire. This is especially important because you are sharing confidential information with them that you wouldn’t just share with anyone.  Also, the recruiter should have a proven track record of success.  A good thing to ask is “how many years have you been recruiting?”  The reason you should ask this is because if they’ve been doing it for many years, then it means they are successful. It’s a competitive world out there and a recruiting firm wouldn’t keep someone around if they weren’t doing a good job. 

If you work in HR and/or you’re the person that makes hiring decisions, recruiting firms and hiring staffing agencies are great ways to get the people you need for the job.  If you really sit down with these specialist firms and ask them enough questions you’ll see if they’re right for the job or not.  Let’s face it, every recruiting firm is going to try and get your business, it’s your job to evaluate if they are the right one for you.


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

How Should I Read A Job Description?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

How Should I Read a Job Description

 

Wait, there’s a special way I’m supposed to be reading a job description? 

Of course, there is!

There’s a special madness to everything in this world.  You could be reading the wrong things, or reading the right things in the wrong way.

How to Properly Read a Job Description:

Be Aware of Templated Descriptions

First of all, when you’re looking at a job description, here’s one thing to keep in mind.  Most of the job descriptions are templates that hiring managers or HR have in their holsters ready to fire out to find job candidates.  If the template needs refining, they simply apply some minor changes to the description before posting it wherever need be. This one-size-fits-all approach can be a source of confusion as sometimes the job roles may actually be different than what is detailed in the job description.

 

Do Not Adjust Your Resume Description

Candidates sometimes make the catastrophic mistake of adjusting their resume to fit a job description: Absolutely-DO NOT do this.  If you’re going to adjust your resume, make changes based on the job requirements, not the job description.  The job requirements are the very heart of the position the employer seeks to fill and provide the most useful information that a job seeker needs.  

Most job postings break down into two parts.  First is the narrative, the job description. This is the first thing you read and is usually communicated in broad and general terms.  The second is the job requirements. These are most often found towards the end of the posting. These are typically bulleted and straight to the point.  

 

Focus on Job Requirements

The job requirements are the most important set of information in the job description.  

Why?  

Because this is the information that the hiring manager sends HR to let them know what they need.  HR then takes this list and puts it right into the requirements, with the first couple of points generally being the most important to the hiring manager.

If you focus on the requirements, you should get a good grasp of what’s needed to succeed in the position.  The rule of thumb is that if you match up to at least 75% of the requirements you should apply for the job.  

 

Final Thoughts

The best advice that I could give someone is to really break down the description and compare it to your skill sets. If the match looks suitable, then hey, go for it. If you’re still not sure, don’t be afraid to call or email to find out more about the job.

 


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

5 Best Practices For Resume Writing

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 @ 10:23 AM

5 Best Practices (1)

It’s an age-old question: “What should I put in my resume?”  There are plenty of articles and how-to videos offering advice on what a resume should say and how it should look.  But, when looking for employment, be sure not to put the cart before the horse. Realize this one thing: you are not writing a resume to get a job; you are writing a resume to get an interview.  

That said, let me offer you 5 great tips to keep in mind while writing your resume:

1. Don’t Just List Your Strengths

When writing your resume, don’t just list your strengths.  Say, for example, you’re a good public speaker. Connect it with some real-life success and tell a potential employer why they should care.  If an employer can look at your resume and see a relevant personal experience in which you displayed your strength it will put you at an advantage.

2. Use The Right Keywords

Working in a recruiting office I witness first-hand every day how true this statement is.  The bottom line is that, recruiters in my office sort and search through piles of resumes using keyword searches.   If your resume doesn’t contain the right keywords for the job you’re after, there’s basically no chance you’ll land that interview.

3. Customize Your Resume For Each Potential Employer

As easy as it would be to just make one resume and just dish it out across the board, do not make a generic resume.  Is every job the same? Of course not, so don’t make every resume the same. Tweak and fix your resume to make it a custom fit for each particular job description.

4. Don’t List All Your Job Experiences

When people are writing their resumes they innately want to cram as many job experiences as possible on one or two pages. You know, to “impress” the potential employer, right?  Actually, this is the opposite of what you should do. Your resume should not be packed like sardines on the page, but rather clear, legible, and eye-catching. Obviously, you need to list the most current and the most relevant jobs on your resume, but try to keep it all within the last 15-20 years.

5. Begin Narratives With Action Verbs

Follow this very powerful and useful practice when writing your resume.  It’s an attention grabber. And describing your accomplishments with action verbs such as organized, managed, directed, etc., actively describes what your duties were at that job.

Final Thoughts

When you sit down to write your resume, really think about what you have to offer an employer. You’re not simply a beautiful snowflake, just like everyone else. Your resume is the first step in differentiating your personal brand from the rest of the pack. It’s a tool to position you as an employable commodity.  Along these lines, don’t just write what you think they want to hear. It’s imperative to always proofread as well-- nothing says unqualified better than a resume with grammatical and spelling errors. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to get professional help. After all, it’s your future we’re talking about. So, why wouldn’t you want the perfect resume?

 


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Best Places To Look For A Job

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Best Place To Look For a Job

Unlike the traditional job search methods that involved a newspaper and a brief case full of resumes, in this day and age there are many initial outlets to search for a job without leaving the comfort of your own couch.  However, managing your job search leveraging these outlets is a task in and of itself; they can get cluttered and complicated, and it may be hard to sift through and find exactly what you’re looking for.  I have narrowed the laundry list of job search methods down to four:

Recruiting Firm

Leveraging a recruiting firm is a great way to land the job you’ve always wanted.  All candidates need to do is give the recruiting firm a current resume, and let the experts do the work.  Recruiters are highly experienced in the fields they recruit for, and their sole purpose is to place their candidates in the right positions.  They are dedicated professionals that do great work.

LinkedIn

Linkedin is a great tool to help someone find a job.  Referred to by some as the facebook for grown-ups, LinkedIn is a professional networking site that enables the end-user to create a profile that lists his or her professional experience, education, skills, and more.  Utilized by the majority of innovative organizations for the purposes of recruiting candidate as well as marketing innovative organizations for the purposes of recruiting candidates as well as marketing, LinkedIn is a great place to find a job.  The site even goes as far as to pick up on specific keywords in your profile and recommend specific jobs that may be interesting to you.

Job Websites

Websites such as monster.com, dice.com, and careerbuilder.com provide people searching for employment with a wide variety of different job opportunities.  These sites are confidential, and the end-user can submit everything to the hiring organization online. Typically candidates immediately obtain a confirmation of receipt from the hiring organizations they apply to, and receive an update on the status of their documentation in approximately one or two days.

Craigslist

Many job seekers consider Craiglist.com to be underrated.  The site has gotten a bad rap as a scary place full of scam artists and strangers.  What many don’t realize is that Craigslist is chalk-full of professional opportunities and job listings.  The site also features new postings every day and provides a great resource for finding local work.  People sometimes view Craigslist as a scary place with a lot of scam artists and strangers.  I’m not going to lie, there are definitely mischievous people on craigslist but then again there’s a whole job market available too.  Craigslist provides a great way to find local work, basically in your backyard.  Another plus of using craigslist is that there are new postings every day, if you don’t see one today check back tomorrow and you may be pleasantly surprised.

All a job searches take a little time, and a little luck.  The opportunity of your dreams may have just opened up, and it’s your job to go out and find it!


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

Top Five Misconceptions of Interviewing

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Jun 04, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

5 Common Interview Misconceptions

There are a lot of practices that people think exist in the interview room.  These are mostly misconceptions and they might have stemmed from folktales, old family stories, or even other people’s idealistic imaginations.  When it comes down to it, all interviews are different.  Each interviewer has their own way of doing things and you should be prepared for any kind of curveball they will throw your way. 

These are the top five misconceptions of interviewing

1. The Interviewer is Prepared

Many people think that the interviewer is compiling a whole load of questions and looking at your resume diligently.   In fact, most of the time the interviewer hasn’t even seen your resume yet! Yeah that’s right, why else would they open up the interview with “tell me about yourself”?  Usually, the most prepared person in that interview is the actual candidate…as it should be!

2. Keep Your Answers Short

When answering interview questions, many people think they should keep their questions short, for what reason?  Sometimes your answer can lack substance if you don’t go into depth.  Do you want to sell yourself short?  In most interviews, it’s encouraged to open up and talk, especially in the interview asks you a long thought out question.  However, stay on point, don’t talk too much and read queues of your interviewer to ensure you are keeping them engaged.

3. It’s Not About the Looks, It’s About The Skill

Unfortunately, when someone is considered to be hired, it’s not solely based on skill alone.  Interviewers see first, before they listen and they want someone who is presentable.  If you look good, you probably are good at what you do.  In other words, dress for the part.

4. The Best Candidate Gets the Job

This isn’t always true.  On one hand, being qualified for the job may give you a leg up, but it doesn’t put that leg in the door.  If a less qualified candidate has a good relationship with the interviewer or the interview is going very smooth and both parties see eye to eye, this in turn will be more of an advantage than the actual qualifications.

5. Yes! I Have an Interview, So Now I’m In the Running!

This is one of the greater misconceptions that candidates have.  Just because you have an interview doesn’t mean you have a chance.  Sometimes interviews are set up for jobs that have already been filled.  Reasons for this include experiments and studies or the candidate that originally got the job is on hold.  But, then again I guess it’s better to have an interview than to not have one, practice does make perfect. 


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

Five Questions To Ask When Interviewing

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Wed, May 29, 2013 @ 10:18 AM

Questions to ask when interviewing

Everyone wants to know what to ask for when conducting an interview.  They wonder “should I keep it simple and not overwhelm the candidate?” or the opposite; “I should definitely ask challenging, in depth questions to really see what this person is all about."  The best thing to do is mix it up.  This gives you the best chance to really find out who you are potentially hiring. 

Here are the 5 Questions you should ask when interviewing:

1. What are your weaknesses?

This is a great question to ask because it really makes the candidate think about themselves and identify the need for personal improvement.  The person that says they don’t have weaknesses isn’t honest with themselves and you, how could they effectively represent your company to your customers?

2. What is your greatest strength?

Unlike the last question, about weaknesses, this question is strictly a singular question.  If you ask someone about their strengths, plural, they’ll start listing of the things that YOU want to hear.  An added bonus to this question is that it helps ease nerves to start the interview.  I recommend this to be one of the first interview questions.  People like to talk about themselves in positive ways, it shows you what they can do and helps get the interview going smoothly.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Finding out the mental goals of the candidate, is key to help a company in the long run.  This question also lets the candidate take a step back and really think about what he or she would like to accomplish and allows you to put their goals in perspective with the company’s.

4. Talk about a time in your life when you had to overcome obstacles

This is a key question because it helps reflect the attitude and determination of the candidate.  I remember when I first got this job, I was asked this question and it really made me think about hard times in my life and getting through them.  No matter what the trial or tribulation is, the candidate should have an anecdote that they are aware of and that can help them through other difficult times. 

5. How would a best friend/family member describe you

I believe this is one of the most key questions you could ask a candidate in an interview.  The reason for this is that it’s not only how the perceive themselves, but how others perceive them.  Another good aspect of this question, is that it helps the candidate indirectly describe what’s good or bad about themselves that they wouldn’t tell if asked the directly.

Asking the right questions are important to helping your company staff and position itself with the best employees to ensure future growth.

By Jake Pinto

RELATED BLOG:

7 REASONS YOU NEED TO TALK TO A RECRUITER 

Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Interviews, HR and Hiring

Is Your Resume Ready for Mobile Recruiting?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 @ 11:00 AM

Is Your Resume ready for Mobile Recruiting_

The job search game has changed, yet again!  Just as you learned job search tactics for your resume to be digested on social media, your resume has to now contend with being read on iPads, iPhones, Android phones, Blackberries and every other type of old and new tech device in between.

One Sunday night, I had a friend of mine send me their resume in the spirit of networking asking if I could facilitate any introductions. As I opened the document on my iPhone, I noticed that the contact information on the resume was missing. The employer’s information was absent, as well. Just blank spaces on the resume where this information should have been placed. Yet when I opened the document on my PC, the contact and employer name information was where it was supposed to be—it was just placed in a table. I learned (and my friend learned the hard way) that information placed in tables are not read by iPhones.  

While I have been reading resumes on smartphones of some type since 2006 or 2007, it is now apparent the job search and the recruitment model is going mobile like many other industries. How can job seekers be ready for these technological adjustments and what should they expect?

Here is how to get your resume ready for mobile recruiting

Make your communications ridiculously concise

Cover letters should be as short as a screenshot. For certain social media channels, you have to convey your intent in 140 characters or less to get the pingback from the job poster to contact them offline.

Test your resume and cover letters on various mediums and devices to ensure they open and appear properly

I have been opening resumes on PDAs, and now smartphones, since 2006 (maybe 2005).  Some recruiters have been doing it much longer than me. Resumes in dated Word versions have a lesser chance of opening on a newer phone. Are your Mac docs compatible with PC, Droid, and other non-Mac gadgets? Can your PC-based docs open on iPhones and iPads?  Perform some quality controls with your documents and see what can open where.

Use your mobile phone number on your resume—remove landlines from your applications

This will enable you to receive recruiting SMS text messages from employers who use this technology. ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) such as Bullhorn and Bond Adapt house this information in applicant data files and can send out mass job alerts via SMS text, as well as email, automated phone messages, etc.  Landlines cannot receive texts—and who knows if your kids or parents will answer the phone!! Yikes!

Get your QR Code

The jury is out on how these codes will be used en mass by corporate and search firm recruiting departments to benefit from their features in an economy of scale capacity. But until that is figured out, get your code and look like you are cool, hip and happening (without using those words, of course). QR Codes are being used at job fairs for all types of candidates, especially technology and digital jobs, and at various types of industry conventions at vendor booths and promotional venues. Currently, they are in use and can help vying recruiters find you as an early adopter of this technology. 

Engage recruiters online on Twitter, LinkedIn and other appropriate social media venues (blogs, industry groups, networking groups) for your career. 

If a company is seeking a social media savvy marketing executive, they will not post an ad in the NY Times. They will find relevant sources and viable candidates where they expect this next hire to already reside. Be the job you want—and they will find you.

Get your resume posted on online and social media forms 

A paper resume is often the last version of your resume a recruiter will see. Your personal website, LinkedIn profile, Twitter bio, Branchout/Facebook Timeline, About.me or VisualCV may be the first thing they see in searching online for people like you with your credentials. Those virtual documents need to be equally as engaging as your print resume, as they are often the first impression seen by others.

Embrace the use of job search apps on your phone

These are very much in development for many companies and organizations. The major job boards and social media channels all have a mobile version (Monster, LinkedIn, Facebook, Indeed.com, TwitterJobSearch, etc…). These can help you keep track of responses on your submissions and comments and stay up to speed on new job openings posted by the recruiters you follow.

Mobile recruiting is still in its infancy for many industries and companies. But if you are in a progressive industry or profession, it is paramount that you embody these new trends into your daily job search activities.

By Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resumes


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Social Media, Job Search, Networking, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

5 Strategies to get the most out of working with an Executive Recruiter

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Jul 06, 2012 @ 11:00 AM

How To Effectively Work With a Recruiter

Working with an executive recruiter to find work is a lot like life – the more you put into, the more you get out of it. It also works the other way around. If you throw your hands in the air and expect your job recruiter to do all the work, you’re probably going to stay unemployed for a long time. For the record, headhunters aren’t miracle workers and believing that they are, puts you in a pretty bad position. If you want to make the most of the opportunity, you’re going to have to learn to work with them. Which means accepting some facts and following a few hard and fast rules.


5 Strategies to Effectively Work with a Recruiter

1. Recruiters Do Not Work For You

The relationship between you and an executive recruiter may not be what you think it is. The fact is, they partner with you to help you find employment opportunities – but they don’t work for you. Their top priority is to the companies that contract them to find job candidates. Keep this in mind and behave like a partner, not like a demanding customer.

2. Keep Your Commitments

Learn to keep your commitments and to act on the recruiter’s requests. For example, if a recruiter asks you to update your resume or take a typing test to determine your skill level, don’t flake out on them. If they feel you’re not capable of coming through with small tasks, they’re a lot less likely to consider you capable of coming through with larger ones – like showing up to work on your first day of a job they’ve lined up for you.

3. Be Honest

Be honest. If you’re looking for work in the IT industry but have no experience, don’t fake it or make false claims. This kind of move will only backfire on you. Once that happens and the relationship begins to erode, your chances of finding work grow increasingly slim.

4. Be Visible

Keep yourself on their radar. Don’t expect a job recruiter to chase you, especially since you’re the one who stands to gain the most out of the relationship. Stay in constant contact to keep yourself at the forefront of your recruiter’s mind.

5. It is Not All About You

Understand that you’re not unique. Although this may fly in the face of what your mother told you when you were growing up, bringing ego into the relationship between you and your recruiter is only a recipe for disaster. It’s one thing to have self-confidence and another thing entirely to expect a headhunter to work miracles. Listen to their feedback and take action on it. If an executive recruiter suggests that you work on certain skills to make yourself more appealing to potential employers, don’t take offense. Instead, heed their advice.

 


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Career Strategies