Job-hunting is tough. But being on the radar of top recruiters, headhunters and executive search firms can land you that new job. So how do you get them to take notice? Be prepared and take action, says Adrienne Graham, author of Get Recruited: Secrets from a Top Recruiter on Using Unconventional Tactics to Get Noticed in an Inconvenient Economy and founder/CEO of professional & entrepreneurial development firm Empower Me! Corporation.
First, be in the right place at the right time. “First become the hunter, but for Intel. Find out where they (recruiters) hang out online and observe their conversations. For example, ERE.net is a place where corporate and agency recruiters congregate and discuss their needs and what they're looking for in candidates. There's a lot of open conversation,” says Graham. “Use this Intel by narrowing down the recruiters’ ad companies you would like to work for then approach them on Linked In or any other social media platform they're using to introduce yourself. Tailor your introduction to highlight your skills that match exactly what they're looking for. This will grab their interest and make you stand out above everyone else who bombards them with email because you will be what they're looking for.”
“Be prepared. Be persistent. Be unique,” adds Kim L. Hunter, president/CEO of Lagrant Communications and partner in KLH & Associates, a minority-owned-and-operated executive search firm specializing in the recruitment and placement of mid-to-senior level diverse candidates in the communications industry with Fortune 500 companies and advertising, marketing and public relations agencies.
Being prepared, means avoiding the common mistakes people make when dealing with search firms. “Some of the mistakes people make,” says Hunter, “are typos on resume and cover letter; not doing homework on the company or the specific search; not being prepared, and not being honest and forthright about job history.”
Besides the typical errors, there are a few other no-nos, Graham points out.
· Mistake #1- “The use of acronyms and name dropping (university or companies worked for). All we care about is do you have the skills to do the job and what examples of past experiences you can share where those skills produced direct results,” says Graham.
· Mistake #2- Excessive follow up. “It's OK to follow up, but many candidates don't ask a recruiter about their acceptable follow up process. They send countless emails and make back-to-back phone calls, which ends up annoying the recruiters,” she advises.
· Mistake #3- They drop the ball. “They let communication drop after rejection. Just because this job didn't pan out, doesn't mean there won't be future opportunities,” adds Graham. “Send quarterly or annual updates and check in to see how the recruiter is.”
Take a few steps to make yourself stand out and look great, says Graham.
· Leverage social media. “Don’t just use tweets or Facebook updates,” she says. “Everyone has an expertise in something related to their job. Find a way to put that on display using the three pillars of social media: audio, video and written word. In addition to Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Google+, record how-to or informational videos, audio podcasts and writing blogs and/or articles for prominent blogs or magazines with an online presence.”
· Talk the talk. “Take advantage of online (and offline) forums or opportunities where you can share your opinions and expertise and make sure you're heard saying the right things by the right people,” says Graham.
· Network. Network. Network. “Get known by and acquainted with thought leaders and experts in your area of expertise. These are people recruiters are already watching. Make it a point to establish relationships with them so they will be inclined to share your content and put you in front of their following. When recruiters see your "brand power" on the rise, they will definitely take notice;” she says. “But make sure you're giving back to these thought leaders. You don't want to use them; you want to build real relationships. You never know what opportunities or which recruiters they know and can introduce you to.”