How do I align myself with a recruiter or firm to best market my skills?

Monday, August 18th, 2008 - career management, Employment, job hunting, recruitment

Milton asks: How do I align myself with a recruiter or firm to best market my skills? As the casualty of the economic downturn in the technology sector, I have found myself on the job market. I’m actually excited at the prospect of changing fields, and want to continue using my strengths as a talent developer, coach and strategist for organizational design. There appear to be a lot of recruiters in my market, and it is a daunting task to know where to begin. Are there any thoughts, advice or real-life experiences that anyone can share to help me find clarity?

In answer:
You need a strategy which encapsulates the ability to be found. Now that’s not hard, but the question is – do you know what you want to do next (in terms of skills development or extension), and do you know what the market needs?

Start with talking to a few friends who have recently (in the past 12months ideally), found new jobs, and ask how they did it? More often than not, employees are now being found more directly by employers over indirectly via recruiters; but employers now use third party vetting services (ie – fixed fee recruiters who check applicants out), so the process has not really changed just shifted. Your friends should be able to recommend both employers, resume and job finding sites, and reliable recruiters they trust – and those are your three routes to being found and hence employed.

A good recruiter, who focuses on your sector (that’s always rule one) should:
– be honest about you, your skills and ambitions
– say where they think you could be best employed: which might not fit with your view, but at least hear them out – they get paid to do this daily
– be honest about the opportunities they have on their books that fit your skills: the norm is to say “Yes, we have a job that will exactly suit you” but the honest one’s will be honest and give it as it is
– be able to tell you how much their company and they individually will gte paid: avoid any who take a fee from the employer up front of more than 20%
– re write your CV/Resume
– be communicative in terms of progress of opportunity
– be wanting and able to meet you at least once during the process!

And finally through the whole process, you should once they place you be able to keep in contact and know when you are looking for your next post be able to go back to a professional.

If you work with a recruiter alongside doing your own direct tactical applications to employers, be sure to keep that activity focused in the same market area (ie – IT/electronics), and be communicative. Try not to register with more than one recruiter, and NEVER go direct to the employers they tell you they know and will put you forward on – you’ll lose the job, is the outcome!

Good recruiters know the market, can asses you and will work with you to get a job; and its not all their effort and you just sit back, work with them. A good recruiter should be able to get you placed better, quicker if the job is done right.

Good Luck!

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