Job Hunting Advice from a Recruiter

by Contributor

The job market is improving, but it is still extremely competitive. If you are unemployed the best thing to do is stay busy doing all you can to make yourself stand out above the rest. If you are putting 100% of your energy into your job search, it will seem as though looking for a job is a JOB! And it is.

I am a recruiter and I understand how frustrating it can be for people… I wish I could help everyone but I can’t. Here are some tips to understand how recruiters help job seekers, and what you can do to improve your odds of finding a job.

The Role of Staffing Agencies

career advisor assisting job applicant

A staffing agency can open doors

Many people have misconceptions about staffing agencies and job recruiters. If you expect a staffing company to just have a job for you, you may be in for a surprise. It doesn’t work like that. We are contracted with clients to find “the best” for them. Just like any other job you have to go through the same process of submitting a resume and interviewing. However, using a job placement service can be beneficial because we can market candidates on another level more personally, either directly to HR department or the hiring manager.

Unemployment is Tough, but there is Hope

I have been unemployed, so I understand what it feels like to send out resumes but never hear back. Working with a placement agency isn’t a magic bullet, but it may help you get more feedback on your applications. The most rewarding aspect of my job is helping as many people as I can get back to work, especially if the job is the “right fit ” for them. A lot of people lose sight of it in our industry and only look at the money. But what matters is the people we are helping.

The best thing to do when looking for work is keep your skills up, take free online tutorials, get certifications, and network, network, network! As everyone sees in today’s economy – it is who you know, not what you know!

On Changing jobs

You don’t want to be labeled as a job hopper, but taking a temporary job until you find your career job isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many employers are understanding, especially in this economy. The key is to keep things reasonable and not be a serial job hopper. Some employers are very picky when it comes to job hoppers, and can afford to be choosy because the market is so saturated with qualified workers.

Personality Fit and other Intangibles are More Important than You Think

In some industries, the individual with the personality that is most in-line with the company culture is going to get the job 9 times out of 10 over the person with more experience. Why? Because you can teach someone how to use systems, perform specific tasks, etc. But you can’t train workers to develop a better personality.

Think about this any time you do interview, and be yourself. Just connect with the employer, let them know what you have to offer them, and don’t over analyze things. Another note on interviews: everyone who is job hunting should have an elevator speech prepared out so that when someone says “Tell me about yourself,” you don’t have to look down at your resume!

Education isn’t a Guarantee

No one is guaranteed a job after school. That would be amazing, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. This can be an eye-opener for new graduates, and it took me some time to learn as well. A Bachelor Degree today is a norm – it is expected for most jobs. Unless you are in a specialized field or have some experience that sets you apart from the pack, you need to be willing to work your way up.

The best advice I can give here is to be realistic with your expectations. Companies pay for skills and experience, not a college degree. Once you get in with a great company, the opportunities are endless. Most often companies promote first internally, but you need to work your way up the corporate ladder. You need to prove your skills and people will take notice. Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door, expand your network, and gain direct experience in your field. Together, those will pivot you towards where you want to be. Good Luck out there!

About the author: Julia Cameron is a staffing consultant and job placement professional. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Photo credit: inlinguaManchester.

Published or updated December 26, 2012.
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