Graduating from college is the best thing that probably happened to you. I know that you are excited and you are ready to look for that ground breaking opportunity. Before you get too excited, let's take a look at what you need to do in order to land great job.
The first thing that you will need to do is build a network. I know that you are looking forward to graduating or you have already graduated from college, therefore, you will want to get hooked up with people who will give you the best opportunity to land a job. Networking with professionals is like branding. The more they see your face and hear your voice, the more likely they will be able to refer you to the right places to land the job of your dreams.
You will also want to get linked up with internships that specialize in your field. If you are going to have the best chance for finding that great job, you will want to make sure that you have some type of experience in the industry. This usually means that you can use the internship program that you were apart of to use as a form of experience.
Make sure that you are well rounded when you are looking for somewhere to work. If you are going to work for a company, then you will want to make sure that you are looking at filling a void as opposed to filling a position. Filling a position could limit you to placing a cap on the corporate ceiling because you are focusing too much on the position. However, if you are focusing on filing the needs of the company, you can find yourself moving up the ranks faster because you are showing that you are well rounded with your skills.
Recently I attended a networking event where I knew there would be several people looking for work. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I did so as a ‘Professional in the Staffing Industry.’ Immediately I caught the attention of several people in the room. I could see their eyes light up with hope.
After the meeting concluded, one particular man approached me, and without any introduction said, “Those [expletive] recruiters never call me back!” Somewhat startled, I made it a point to dig deeper. He was clearly angry with whatever experience he must have had, and I wanted to find out more. “Sir,” I said, “Why do you think that is?”
“You know, those [expletive] recruiters don’t care about anyone but themselves,” he continued on a profanity-laced tirade. Not only did he have a bad attitude, but most of all he was unable to recognize that working with a recruiter is not as simple as sending in a resume and going to church on Sunday.
Regardless if you like recruiters, staffing agencies, headhunters, or whatever you want to call the people who work in the industry, the fact remains that agencies are a reality in today’s job market. You are not required to use an agency at all if you don’t wish, but if you decide to work with a recruiter or a staffing agency, be aware of the rules of the game.
Rule No. 1: Recruiters are people too! When you engage with a recruiter, be respectful. Recognize they are doing a very stressful job in a very competitive landscape, with very low margins and extreme pressure to deliver every day. Recruiters work their butts off to help YOU find a job. It is mind boggling to hear stories of candidates that yell at their recruiter, but it happens every day. I am sure you have heard the cliche; you attract more flies with honey – that holds true here too.
Rule No. 2: Not all agencies are the same. When you assess various agencies, keep in mind different agencies offer an assortment of benefits. Some offer free training and education. Some offer medical and other health related benefits. Some have personalized support for their contractors. Some have referral bonus plans and other incentives. But most importantly, different agencies service different types of clients. If you are looking to work with a small boutique company, then find a recruiter that works with small boutique clients. If you are looking to work for a Fortune 1000 company, then find a recruiter that focuses their efforts on that market.
Rule No. 3: Information changes in real time. Understand that today there may not be a position that fits your profile, but tomorrow there may be several opportunities. You must manage the relationship with your recruiter by communicating on a regular basis and making sure your recruiter is working for you. Do not get discouraged if weeks or months go by with no openings. Many people make the mistake of losing contact too early in the relationship building process and lose out on opportunities because of it. I hear recruiters all the time tossing around the names of the people they are in close contact with that might fit a position. You must maintain constant communication.
Rule No. 4: Keep a log. When you are working with a recruiter, it is important to know which positions you are being considered for and submitted against. In most cases, people have more than one recruiter working to help them find a job. In this case, you have to communicate to each recruiter the positions you are interested in and the ones you have been submitted to. If you don’t, you run the risk of being submitted to the same position by more than one agency. Not a good thing. If this happens, you may burn the bridge with each recruiter and could be disqualified for that position automatically. If you are applying for positions on your own, you must keep a log and communicate these to your recruiters too.
Rule No. 5: Too many recruiters are too many. At the most you should have three agencies working for you. If you only have one, then you limit your odds of finding the best opportunity. If you have more than three, you face the pitfall of being over represented in the market. Find two or three recruiters that you get along with personally, that you believe has your best interest at heart, and that maintains an open dialog with you.
As you can see, working with an agency or a recruiter is not that tough. Use your common sense. Treat your recruiter as your potential employer. Recruiters have a wealth of knowledge, and have deep connections in the hiring community. I believe the man that I met had a bad experience because he did not follow any of the rules. He had a very bad attitude and he was totally unprepared for the process management required to effectively work with a recruiter. Remember, when you are looking for a job, you have to make finding a job your job. You must be the manager of your own career.
Best of luck in your job search.