Fall recruitment is a lot like dating. It can be awkward and uncomfortable, and it also involves the not-so-easy task of having to prove to a perfect stranger why you’re the most awesome person they’ve ever met.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you knew what a recruiter was looking for? I thought so, and that’s why I reached out to Matt Lester, a recruitment consultant with IQ Partners in Toronto, to give us some advice on everything you need to do to impress a recruiter.
1) Keep it short and sweet
In terms of your resume and cover letter, brevity is the name of the game. “The best way to approach a recruiter is to understand the nature of our business,” says Matt. Which means knowing that recruiters can get hundreds of inquiries every day and they don’t have a lot of time to spend on each one.
Make their job easier by getting right to the point. With your cover letter, lead with your education, your professional background, and your job and salary expectations. For new grads, highlight your soft skills and relevant experience from extracurriculars. “Understand that you’re a new grad and everyone knows that you’re a new grad,” says Matt. “Don’t give me a five-page resume.”
2) Talk to the right person
Recruitment isn’t a “one size fits all” profession – there are a variety of niches and specialties. Your best bet is to connect with recruiters that specialize in the area you are trying to get into. Says Matt: “If you look at my LinkedIn, it says ‘financial services’ written all over it and I have people reach out to me for crazy stuff that has nothing to do with anything at our firm.” Don’t waste a recruiter’s time – make sure you’re talking to the right person for what you want to do.
3) Network, network, network!
“Networking by far is the best way to get your first gig,” says Matt. Whether in-person or online, networking allows recruiters to put a face to a name, which will help you stand out from the competition. His pro tips: use LinkedIn to its fullest potential. You can fill your profile with keywords to make it more searchable, follow companies you like on the site, and connect with as many people as possible in your field. Another tip is to check out sites like Eventbrite to find industry events in your area.
4) Following up is key
As Matt says, “persistence overcomes resistance.” It’s not enough to give someone your business card and call it a day. Regularly reconnecting and checking in with recruiters is crucial in order to stay top-of-mind. Comment on what they or their company is posting and engage with them on social media. Do whatever you can to show that you’re interested in them, and they’ll be that much more likely to go the extra mile for you.
5) Give before you ask
Lastly, before you approach someone, see what you can do to add value to their lives or their business and then try to provide that. The reason is simple: “People feel more inclined to give back once they’ve gotten something,” says Matt. Think about someone in your own network with whom you could connect them, or share a link to an informative article. A little generosity can go a long way.
A recruiter’s time and attention is precious. By following these tips, you can help them help you land that perfect position.