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leverageHow do you approach a recruiter about making a change or advancing your career?

Recruiters are match-makers, but they are not mind readers.  As enthusiastic as most all recruiters are about helping people achieve their professional goals, they can’t guess what type of company appeals to you, or how adept you are at a certain skill.

Before approaching a recruitment professional, take an inventory of the type of company you’d like to work for, the industry you want to be in, and the skills you can offer your next employer to get the most out of the candidate-recruiter relationship.

Do Your Homework.  Connecting with the right recruiter will help get your search off to a great start.  If your aim is to gain experience at a specific organization, reach out to an internal recruiter who can help connect you with openings that can get your foot in the door.  If you are more interested in opportunities in specific industry, such as IT, research reputable third party agencies in that space.

Connect on LinkedIn.  When you are ready to reach out, sending an invitation through LinkedIn is an excellent way to connect.  LinkedIn is a primary recruiting tool, and recruiters are happy to make your connection and expand their network.  Connecting through LinkedIn also provides an easy way for recruiters to quickly assess your background, employment history, affiliations, and skill sets.  Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is an accurate, up-to-date reflection of you to get the most mileage out of each LinkedIn connection.

Be honest about your background/skills.  Once the connection is made, the recruiter may reach out to you to learn more about your experience and what you are looking for in your next opportunity.  This is not the time to exaggerate your experience or gloss over a blemish in your resume.  Being upfront and honest with your recruiter from the get-go will help them match you to positions that you have the best potential to land in.

Be generous with your referrals.  Recruiters are always looking for great candidates to place within their organization or within their clients’ organizations.  They love referrals because they are an automatic peer endorsement, giving the candidate automatic clout.  While you may not be a fit for an immediate opening, referring someone in your network is a great way to increase goodwill between yourself and your recruiter so that you’ll be top of mind the next time an opportunity arises.

Finally, check in from time to time. The employment landscape is constantly changing, so while there may not be a good fit now, another opening is always down the road.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to a recruiter you have established a relationship with to see what the market is like, or if they have received any recent requests.  Take these occasional touch points to remind your recruiter of your skills, strengths, and aspirations.

Impress your recruiter by making their job a breeze – they’ll repay your savvy by pairing you up with a great opportunity.

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