Find a recruiter BEFORE you absolutely need to have a new job. Let’s face it; you’re probably wasting everybody’s time talking to a recruiter unless you’re thinking about making a job change. The absolute worst time to make first contact with a recruiter is when you’ve been RIF’d, fired, or quit! Give the recruiter ample time to find you a new opportunity!
The purpose of this first contact with a recruiter is to:
- Let the recruiter know that you exist, you’re sort of looking around, but you’re in no big hurry
- Give the recruiter some idea of your technical talents
- Share with the recruiter your career plans and goals
Some recruiters don’t want you to call them until you’re desperate for a new job. Avoid these recruiters. Continue searching until you find a real professional.
- Find a recruiter that specializes in your talents. Most recruiters specialize. A recruiter usually specializes by geography, technology, or industry, or some combination of the above. When looking for a recruiter, try to find a recruiter who specializes in your technical field and geographical preference.
- Find a recruiter that you like to work with and that you trust. No matter how perfect the technical and/or geographic match you are with a recruiter’s specialty area, you MUST like working with this particular recruiter. If a recruiter “bugs you” for any reason, find another recruiter. It is far better that you find a recruiter that you like and can trust but is slightly out of your talent area, then continue to work with the “perfect recruiter” under a lot of friction and stress.
- Don’t be too quick to send your resume to an unknown but “smooth talking” recruiter… especially if you’re still employed. When you finally find a good recruiter, your goal is for that recruiter to keep you in mind for career-building positions as they arise. Most recruiters are true professionals with very high ethics. They will gladly keep you in mind for new positions that are “right up your alley” as they are uncovered. However, there are a few unethical recruiters in the marketplace that will do whatever it takes to get you to change jobs. For example: How would you like your resume to wind up on your current boss’s desk next week? How would you like your resume “shotgun blasted” to hiring managers at every one of your current employer’s competitors in the U.S. and Canada? How would you like to have your carefully crafted resume “doctored” to say things you haven’t done, mention technologies you haven’t used, or credit you with academic credentials you don’t have?
All of the above has happened to others. Some intentional, some maybe not. Be careful! Before you send a resume to a recruiter, make sure you know exactly what they will be doing and not doing with your resume.