Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tips for Job Seekers - A recruiter's perspective

Searching for a job can often be very stressful and for some even emotionally and physically draining. The process could take time and hard work before one can find success. As a job seeker your search can become more effective if you learn how to streamline your effort and you do this by doing proper research and preparation.
As an IT recruiter I have had the experience of interacting with thousands of IT job seekers through the years and some of them truly impressed me with their approach and conduct and left in me an inedible mark and a positive influence. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for majority of the job seekers. These tips are meant especially for those job seekers who wish to improve and hone their job search skills - a recruiter's perspective.
1. Resume writing: In today's competitive market, it is imperative that you always have your resume ready and updated - you never could tell when and where from the next great opportunity will come to you. Design a resume which clearly states your experiences, achievements and basic information such as educational qualification, contact details et al. Always be prepared to customized your resume based on the prospective employer's requirements and expectations. Having said that it is equally important that you do not put anything extra in your resume for which you can not substantiate. Keep in mind too the layout and the format of your resume design. You will receive Recruiters' appreciation, attention and respect if you are prepared to take the time and effort to do up your resume which is neat and detailed. And for those mature/specialized skills job seekers focus not on your needs but the needs of your prospective hirers - this definitely will catch your recruiter's attention.
2. Job Market Research: Once you have your resume prepared and/or you are prepared to initiate your job search actively the next thing for you to do is explore your immediate available options - networking through your friends, contacts, colleagues, ex-colleagues, and maybe talk to your favorite recruiter. You have much to gain and little to loose by befriending a recruiter. Remember this that a recruiter talks and meets many job seekers everyday and receive many mails every single day. How do you make the recruiter remember you and/or remember your profile? The most obvious is that you have a very impressive resume which stands out amongst the crowd - for many of us this might not be an option and lets be prepared to face and accept it. The other option is that you cultivate and nurture a friendship or contact with your recruiter - this is known as networking and let the favors be mutual. Favor I mean will be when you contact him for available openings or market information and when he contacts you for leads and references.
If unfortunately you've exhausted your immediate options, you then need to widen your horizon and start scanning through the different job sites and even newspapers - recruit/opportunity sections. Most of today's job sites, that's if you are a registered member will mail you new jobs that are specific to your search. This means you have the luxury of new jobs being presented to you without you having to scan through the job sites one after the other. The other option is go directly to your prospective company website and search for their current job listings. Lately, I've found that mailing groups like yahoogroups are a good place to find out the current jobs in the market as posted by various recruiters. Some of these jobs might not even be advertised/available anywhere else.
3. Send out your resume: Now that you have your resume ready and you've done your market research and you have a good idea of where to send out your resume/application go ahead and start applying. Do keep in mind the following e-mail tips:
a) Hide your distribution list: To avoid looking awkward never put multiple email id's in the "To:" field in your e-mail message. A good and self respective recruiter may not be very enthusiastic to contact you if it looks like you are working with every other firm in the market. As far as possible avoid sending your resume to more than one company in the same mail. A recruiter loves nothing more than if you take the pain of mailing to him alone and addressing him by his name in the mail. However for whatever reason, against your better judgment presumably, if you have to write to multiple company please do so by using the "undisclosed-recipients" feature in your e-mail program, or the "bcc:" field.
b) E-mail content/Cover letter: How you approach to land yourself the job that you desire or successfully gain your recruiter's attention will be determine by how well you address and express yourself in your email or cover letter. A good introduction will include a brief highlights of your experience, skills and your reasoning on your fitment for the role, do make it short and to the point. Again, remember that a recruiter loves nothing more than to hear his own name when approached by a job seeker. Go ahead make his day, write to him, call him by his name, you have nothing to lose!
c) E-mail subject: If you are applying for job through advertised jobs with a reference code given, do make it a point to use the reference code in both your subject line and in your cover letter. This goes to show that you understand the requirement and that you do understand and one does assume that you have what it takes. This way chances are higher that your application will be validated and not get lost in the muddle or worst in the junk/spam mail folder.
3. Follow up: Often, a recruiter can get overwhelmed with too many mails to check and too many calls to attend to and return et al. It does not hurt one bit if you can follow up your application with a gentle reminder mail or even a short call. To a good recruiter, he will be convince that you are indeed serious about your job search and therefore he will take the extra effort to look into your profile and take the necessary action. In other words be pro-active in your job search and be ready to reap your harvest.
3. If nothing else works, try blogging: For those job seekers who for whatever reasons have only one desire or specific goal to find a job with a particular company, and after exhausting all options but still unsuccessful in landing himself a job with the company, it might be worthwhile to blog your way into their hearts and finally inside the organization. But if you are not the blogging type that's ok because you might still be able to find yourself a job by reading others blog, such as this blog by yours truly advertising jobs with Charterhouse.

Finally, it does not hurt to thank others. Prepare short thank you mails for your recruiter, like the ones that you sent to your prospective employers, after attending the interview. Not many job seekers takes the trouble to thank his recruiter. You might say that its their job why should I thank him. You are right but as I mentioned earlier it does not hurt you much to thank him but it could go a long way in building a good relationship with him. Do not forget, you might still need him the next time you start to look for new job.
In conclusion, let me quote the 3 Ps. According to Katie, job seekers should "keep in mind the rule of the 3 Ps." They need to have:
Purpose: Have a purpose for what you're doing; don't just use a scattershot approach - have a plan and follow it.
Persistence: Don't give up! The process can be hard on the ego, but stick with it.
Patience: All things do come in time.

I would add Passions to the above. Be passionate about what you do and what you intend to do and what you would like to achieve. Be positive, and show good amount of enthusiasm especially while interacting with your recruiter or your prospective employers. A good motto to keep in mind- "Passions is virtue" and "Good things come to those who work".

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*Happy hunting folks!*


David Perry said...

Great attitude that's the secret!

Employers know from experience that passionate employees outperform normal ones ten-to-one – it’s a simple cost benefit equation. Passion is a bankable asset and qualities like drive, ambition, and vision tend to come as part of the package too.

David Perry

Web 2.0 HeadHuntress said...

Thanks for stopping by! Great article.



Interview Questions said...

Thanks a lot for sharing tips with us.

Interview Questions