When you’re looking for a new job, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, there are a lot of tools out there to help, everything from LinkedIn to Craigslist. But the most useful isn’t a tool, it’s a person—you need a recruiter.
A great recruiter brings a lot to the table. He or she has access to a wide range of jobs offered at multiple companies—some of which might not be posted anywhere online. Your recruiter also has a relationship with and the ear of decision makers in the company; if your recruiter believes you’re a good fit for a position, odds are high that everyone else will agree. Additionally, if you work with an experienced recruiter you have someone who can negotiate on your behalf for a better compensation package—and will be honest enough to tell you if your expectations are in line with what’s possible.
Working with a great recruiter streamlines the job search and interview process, and can remove a lot of the stress associated with it.
So how do you find a recruiter? You can look them up on LinkedIn and try to connect, but the best ones who recruit for your specific field will find you. There’s no harm in giving them some help, though, so we compiled these tips to get you noticed.
Start with LinkedIn
You’re probably already on LinkedIn, but are you getting as much out of it as possible? If you haven’t filled out some of the fields, such as causes you care about or volunteer work you do, your profile isn’t working as hard as it could. These fields matter because they give a deeper look at what you care about and the kind of culture you’d fit—not to mention, provide more content that could be drawn into recruiters’ search results. If you are a CAHIMS trainer, put it down. If you volunteer at open source community events, let people know. Fill those fields!
It’s also important to ask for recommendations from former or current colleagues (and be nice--give them in return!). When recruiters offer your resume to a client, they’re putting their reputation on the line that you’re a solid candidate—why not show the recruiter that other people have already done so and think you’re worth the risk?
Once your profile is complete, join some LinkedIn groups that pertain to your profession. Get involved, if possible, by sharing articles or weighing in on interesting conversations. Recruiters often scout these groups, and you want to be visible when they do.
Leverage Career Sites
Obviously, if you see jobs on sites like Careerbuilder that look like they’d be a good fit, you should apply. But leveraging these sites effectively goes beyond applying for jobs—you can also post an up-to-date resume, and tune your privacy settings so recruiters can easily reach out to you. Optimize your resume and profile by including keywords about your skills and previous projects; this increases the probability that recruiters will find you in their search results.
When applying and posting your resume, don’t forget to go beyond the big sites—places like Monster are great to start, but look for niche job sites, such as healthITjobs.com and healthcareitcentral.com for healthcare technology professionals. The recruiters who specialize in your field (and will therefore be the most help to you) will more easily find you on these sites. And don’t forget—many recruiting agencies (ahem, like Greythorn) have job boards on their websites, too.
Share on Social
Fear mongers tell you to lock down your social networks and keep everyone out while you’re looking for a job. Is this necessary? Will recruiters really look you up on Facebook? Maybe, but only after they’ve taken a look at your online resume. Keep things kosher on Facebook, but focus the majority of your energy on social sites that will help you get noticed in the first place, professional ones that speak to your skills and career path.
For example, if you’re a developer, you need to get yourself over to GitHub, Stack Overflow, and others like these to post some of your work. These are great places to connect with other people who share your passion for tech, but recruiters who hire people with a passion for tech are hanging out there, too, and would love to see what you’re capable of building. In healthcare IT? Join discussions on Twitter like #healthITchicks or #HITMC, or on LinkedIn groups like Healthcare Information Technology or Epic and EMR/EHR Professionals. In these conversations, you can build your network and showcase the depth and breadth of your expertise—both important to the recruiters who are participating with you.
Once a recruiter reaches out to you, don’t drop the ball. Make sure you can trust this guy or gal (sorry, some of the people in our field aren’t the best), then build a long-term relationship. Even if the opportunity they contacted you about doesn’t go anywhere, you want to be the first person who comes to mind when another great job becomes available.
Looking for a job in healthcare IT, open source, or big data? Then check out our current job openings! And if you’re looking for work in other fields, get started with this list of 100 niche job boards.