Recruiters: Your Secret Weapon in Today’s Job Market
So, you’ve decided that it is time — time to get back into the workforce or find that dream job. You’ve polished your resume, dusted off your best interview suit, and sent resumes and cover letters through LinkedIn AND Indeed.
And you’ve waited. And waited. And waited. The crickets have become deafening, and you are feeling defeated. What are you doing wrong?
Depending on your employment history and career goals, you may be leaving out the secret weapon to finding a job: using a recruiter.
A recruiter’s number one goal is to get you a job! That means they will collaborate with you at every level of the hiring process to make sure you not only find the ideal job, but that you are a perfect fit for that company and position.
First and foremost, they have the inside track of the companies that are hiring. They spend years cultivating relationships across a wide range of industries, identifying needs in the space and the skills necessary to fill those roles.
Next, your recruiter will provide feedback to your resume. They can point out skills you have based on experience that you can highlight. Best of all, they can fine-tune your resume to include the keywords and skills that applicant tracking system software (ATS) will be scanning for. An ATS uses AI (artificial intelligence) and natural language processing to score and sort resumes based on a predetermined list of job requirements.
But the biggest benefit of collaborating with a recruiter is that they have a direct line to the hiring managers. Forget worrying about a cover letter — they ARE your cover letter! They will present your resume to the company, highlight all the reasons why you are the best candidate for the job, and advocate on your behalf.
This is particularly important if you have a less traditional resume.
Turn Non-Traditional Into Must-Have
There are several instances where it is particularly critical to use a recruiter. First and foremost are people at either end of the age spectrum.
For applicants straight out of college, having an advocate in your corner to help you build your resume and introduce you to key companies in your desired industry is invaluable. For more experienced talent, having a seasoned recruiter who can talk up your experience and wisdom and help overcome any potential ageism bias can open doors that may be otherwise closed to you.
Recruiters can also help you navigate any gaps in employment on your resume. According to Bullhorn survey of 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers, more than 50 percent said that it can be difficult to place a candidate with unexplained employment gaps of three to 12 months.
Your recruiter will guide you on ways to discuss these gaps, including:
- Don’t hide the gap. Simply explain it.
- If the gap is voluntary, explain why. Did you move cities, take time to write a book, go on a sabbatical? Most people will be in awe of these choices, and the gap will be seen as a positive rather than a negative.
- If the gap is involuntary, explain the situation. You will be surprised how many hiring managers can empathize with your circumstances.
This applies to stay-at-home parents as well. A recruiter is a key resource for positioning you as you enter or reenter the work force. Chances are things have changed in the workplace since you were last in an office. Your recruiter can help you bring your resume up to date, brush up on interview skills, and present you to companies that are most responsive to parents moving from child-raising to profit raising.
Lastly, if you are looking to switch industries or follow your dreams and launch into a second career, a recruiter can help you repackage your skills and experience to a different space. For example, if you have 15 years of experience writing in the health and wellness industry, your recruiter can identify industries such as insurance or hospitality, where your skills and experience will naturally transfer from one space to the other.
Similarly, if you have worked in communications for 10 years and would really love to work with children, your recruiter can identify non-profits where your skills can beautifully transition into fundraising or advocacy.
Your non-traditional resume does not have to be a liability. With the right recruiter on your side, they will highlight your unique position to help you stand out and shine with the right employer.