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How to Build Relationships with Recruiters

by Bella Bennett


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Building strong connections with recruiters is an essential step in career advancement. This guide explores the various ways to not only seek recruiters out, but to maximise the relationship once formed. Whether you're seeking new opportunities, looking for advice or aiming to expand your professional network, understanding how to build a successful relationship will be key to making recruiters your allies in achieving your career goals.

Ways to Reach Out to Recruiters

Submit a CV: Directly submitting a tailored CV is one of the most obvious ways to initiate contact with recruiters. Customise your CV to reflect the role/s you're targeting, emphasising those skills and experiences that are most relevant to your career goals. Remember to include a brief cover letter with your submission to express your specific interest and outline your objectives, as this will help provide context to your application.

Book in calls with your recruiter as it is important to proactively engage with the recruiter at this stage by being candid and open about your career aspirations, also make use of these interactions to inquire about other potential opportunities.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great tool for building relationships with recruitment consultants. Optimise your profile with a professional photo, alongside a concise summary of your skills and career goals. Be proactive in making connections with those recruiters specialising in your field. Stay actively engaged by interacting with industry-related content and sharing your own thoughts and insights. This will increase your visibility to recruiters. Also, by participating in LinkedIn groups relevant to your field, you will be able to raise your profile with recruitment consultants and industry peers alike, thereby enhancing your networking opportunities.

Webinars: Attendance can be an effective way to connect with recruiters and industry experts. Start by selecting the webinars that offer expertise and knowledge in your career area, as often there are prominent speakers in your field who can impart valuable sector and career insights. Active participation during these webinars, including attentive listening, note-taking, and asking relevant questions (where possible), demonstrates your interest and engagement.

For webinars that particularly resonate with you, consider requesting a one-on-one session with the host or recruiter who produced the webinar for more personalised advice and discussion about your career prospects, as a good recruiter should be willing to give their time generously to assist in your career goals.

Apply via website: Applying for jobs through a recruiter’s website may seem like a passive approach, however it can often be the crucial first step in the job-seeking process. As outlined above, it is essential to tailor your application for each position you apply to by customising your CV and cover letter to demonstrate your compatibility with the position in question and enthusiasm for the opportunity.

If you don’t receive a response within a reasonable timeframe, it is acceptable to follow up to inquire about the status of your application. This proactive approach shows your continued interest and engagement in the hiring process.

Building a Meaningful Connection

-Come Prepared: It's essential to invest time in self-reflection and career planning. Have a clear understanding of your career goals, strengths, and priorities in advance of your conversations with recruiters. Consider both short-term and long-term objectives. Are you looking for a new job, career advancement, or a change in industry? Think deeply about what aspects of your career are most important to you. Whether it's enjoying a good work-life balance, desire for a values-based role, greater responsibility or a better defined purpose in your role; knowing exactly where your priorities lay will be foundational for a constructive conversation.

-Not just limited to your goals, it is also important to understand where your strengths lie. In advance of your interactions, identify your unique skills, experiences, and accomplishments that make you a valuable candidate.

Provide Necessary Information: Ensure that you share all the relevant information they might need to understand your qualifications and career history. This includes maintaining an updated LinkedIn profile and sharing it when appropriate. It is important to keep your LinkedIn current by adding new skills, experiences, achievements, and ensuring that it accurately reflects your professional journey to date.

Ask Thoughtful Questions: Seek feedback on your CV and cover letter. Are there any areas for improvement or elements that could be highlighted more effectively? Recruiters can provide valuable insights into how to make your application materials stand out, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback!

This also applies to interview techniques and best practices. Ask for tips on how to present yourself confidently and effectively during interviews and what specifically they can share around the recruiting organisation, how they conduct interviews and what they tend to look for. You can also use your interactions to ask recruiters for their insights into the current job market and what skills or qualifications are in demand.

Stay in Touch: Maintaining regular contact, even when you're not actively job hunting, can help build a strong working relationship with your recruiter.  A simple 15-minute call every few months can keep you on their radar and demonstrate your commitment to staying engaged in your career.

This can involve updates about your career progress, such as new certifications, achievements, or promotions. It will also allow you to stay informed about industry news and trends. Sharing interesting articles or insights with recruiters can also help deepen the rapport and understanding between you both. These interactions present great opportunities to reach out for advice or guidance on various aspects of your career, whether it's negotiating job offers, making career transitions, or seeking recommendations for further education or certifications.

Seek Guidance and Feedback: Recruiters often offer coaching and interview preparation services, which can be especially beneficial for more senior roles or complex interview processes. Take advantage of these resources to enhance your job search and interview skills. These services can help you refine your interview techniques, receive constructive feedback, and boost your confidence. 

For senior roles or positions that involve panel interviews, seek guidance on how to navigate these complex processes. Insights into the format and strategies to through the process can be provided. Post interview, ask for feedback whether successful or not. This feedback can help you identify areas for improvement and enhance your future job search efforts.

Participate in Industry Activities: Building a strong relationship with recruiters can open doors to industry-related activities, such as roundtable discussions, webinars, and networking events. Active participation in these activities can boost your visibility and career prospects. Roundtable discussions specifically, allow you to share your expertise and insights whilst connecting with other industry professionals. These events can lead to valuable connections and opportunities. 

Recruiters often have put on their own networking and fringe events at conferences. By having a healthy relationship with your recruiter you will be well-placed to be invited to these types of events, providing the opportunity to expand your professional network further.

Developing and maintaining strong relationships with recruiters is a valuable investment in your career. Recruiters have unique insights into the job market and can provide invaluable guidance, feedback, and opportunities. When you are known to recruiters, they become your advocates, helping you navigate your career path with greater confidence. They can help identify and highlight the best aspects of your experience and assist in distinguishing you from others in your field. 

Remember that building these relationships takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it. Recruiters can provide you with a vantage point you might not have on your own and provide access to a wider professional universe, increasing your chances of finding your dream job and advancing your career. So, start connecting, stay engaged, and let recruiters help you achieve your professional goals.

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