If you are just beginning your job search, it is important to know the different ways third party recruiter’s work so that you can get the most out of those relationships. However, the most successful job seekers do not rely on recruiter’s to help them find a job. To get you started, we have provided a few tips to activate your job hunt.

Some tips to get your search started

Working with Retained Executive Search Firm Recruiters

Recognize that retained recruiters are not ‘in business’ to help you get a job or to help you get job interviews. Retained executive recruiters are hired to represent client companies and work on their behalf to fill their key leadership positions. It is important to note that retained recruiter’s represent client companies and only work on jobs that they have been hired to fill. Retained executive search firms typically focus on VP and C level roles, but some work on a broader range of roles that may include mid to senior level positions. It is a good idea to also evaluate the recruiting firm based the quality of their client base, checking references through mutual contacts, and by comparing the number of followers different firms have on LinkedIn.

Working with Contingency Firm Recruiters

If you are looking for a recruiter to play a more active role in supporting your job search efforts, then you should look for a more sales-oriented ‘contingent fee’ recruiter who will ‘market’ you to companies with the goal to help you get in front of the right people at the right time. Contingent recruiters take on a higher volume of jobs, typically have less information, and are usually competing against other contingent firms and/or internal corporate recruiters. Many recruiters (retained and contingent) are specialized by industry or discipline, so you will get the most traction if your experience aligns appropriately.

Implementing Your Own Job Search Strategy

While making contact with a few recruiter’s in your industry is a good start, it should only represent a small part of your overall strategy. Job search expert Merryn Roberts-Huntley advocates a balanced approach that includes:

1. Updating your LinkedIn profile

Key things to cover with your LinkedIn profile are: have a professional-looking head shot, put a background image behind your head shot that speaks to your professional passion, write a great headline below your name,  have an impactful ‘About’ section, and use keywords in your profile that help you show up in recruiter search results for the type of position you want.

2. Networking like a pro

This could mean within your company, at industry events, or online. One of the biggest mistakes I see is people making is trying to set up 30 minutes coffee meetings. Busy people don’t have time for that especially not with someone they don’t know. Start by trying to get 5 minutes over the phone with someone and build from there. And use LinkedIn for virtual networking! Be sure to send personal notes with your connection requests and consider building a target list. Excel is an easy way to keep track of companies and people you want to build relationships with over time.

3. Getting ahead of job postings

Start by identifying the exact companies and positions you are targeting and most qualified to perform. Staying focused on the long-game and how you can build relationships within those companies will put you in the right place at the right time with the right experience to compete for the role.

Whether you are actively or passively searching for a new role, we suggest starting with the end in mind. A comprehensive and thoughtful approach can help you land your dream job. As a resource, we recommend Merryn’s online course: How to Get the Job You Want: Resumes, Interviews, LinkedIn…

Check out our job search strategy podcast.