Let’s face it, in today’s job market recruiters are keeping our professionals lazy by doing all the heavy lifting job-seeking for them. After all, you don’t have to put yourself out there applying for jobs or networking. All you have to do is update your LinkedIn profile and recruiters will start reaching out to you, right? However, as convenient as this approach may seem, there are some drawbacks. In this article I would like to explore a few tips on how to work with recruiters effectively so you can benefit from the relationship.
First of all, be clear on what you want.
Recruiters will only reach out to you if they have job openings that they think you would be a good fit for. They rarely know or understand what you want because all they can go by is what’s written on your profile. The most logical thing is to assume you want the same kind of job you already have. Most of them will present you job opportunities that are very similar to your current role which would pretty much be a lateral move for you. If you are looking to get a promotion or move up, a recruiter or headhunter is unlikely to present you with a role that’s above your current one. Not only because they cannot read your mind, they also need to sell you to their client. And it will be hard to do if you lack some of the experience the job requires.
Many recruiters are great salespeople and they will present the job to you on a silver platter, making it sound exciting and even too good to be true. Their job is to make this opportunity hard for you to resist. At the same time, they make it extremely easy for you to not do your part of the homework. And, after all, it is nice to know when someone wants you, so why not give them a shot and go to that interview. Unfortunately, once many people accept the job, they often discover that the job is not at all what they expected and it’s too late to back off.
If you are looking to change a career, a recruiter cannot help you.
If you are thinking about changing your industry or the type of work you do, it is hard for recruiters to sell you as a strong candidate. This becomes even harder if your LinkedIn profile doesn’t make it clear that you want to make this change. But even if you do mention that you would like to do something else, and you may even have the relevant skills that are useful to the new role, it is still hard for someone else to sell you as a candidate. You are much more likely to be successful at it when you network and talk to people on your own behalf.
Don’t rely solely on recruiters.
I am not saying don’t work with recruiters, in fact, I am all for it. But you want to make sure that their agenda matches yours. At the same time, don’t forget about other important activities, such as networking. Networking will not only position you as a known expert in your field, it will give you the visibility and the knowledge of the state of your industry. As you watch presentations and listen to panelists, you learn what’s new in your industry. You get a broader perspective and see what’s currently happening outside of your company. You may even get inspired and get a clearer idea about what you want to do next.
Overall, I think working with recruiters can be potentially beneficial to both of you. However, in order for this relationship to be beneficial to you, it is essential that you do your part of the work. You want to be clear what you’re looking for, stay open, keep networking and don’t forget to do your homework with thorough company research before you say yes to any job opportunity.
Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who want to discover their passion in life and build careers of their dreams. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.