By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC622x350

Are you ready to find your next job, but feeling paralyzed about how to start your search? With so many job web sites and a more competitive landscape than ever before, it can feel overwhelming to take the first step.

Just like anything else in life, when you are unsure of where to start, sometimes it is best to ask for a little help. Working with a recruiter can help fast- track your job search and land you in your next position – the right position – more quickly. Follow the steps below and you’ll be ready to find your next job with a recruiter.

1. Know what you are looking for

One of the best things you can do for your job search is to clarify your objectives. What are you looking for in your next step? Is it more responsibility and new challenges in your current field, or are you looking to make a more significant change? Before you begin talking with a recruiter, spend some time reflecting on what it is you really want from your next job. If you are clear about this one fundamental intention, you will have a more efficient and rewarding relationship with your recruiter.

2. Get your materials ready

If you want to be one of your recruiter’s favorite contacts, having up-to-date materials will go a long way. Most of my clients think that resumes are the only important documents to have prepared, but you should also attempt to create a portfolio that showcases your recent work or an addendum that highlights results you have generated in your most recent positions. Having these materials prepared will show your work in the best light and give you a better chance of getting hired.

3. Open yourself to connections

Whether you seek a recruiter’s help or one reaches out to you, in order to get the most of out a relationship with a recruiter, you will need to be open to making connections. This goes beyond the initial contact and introduction to any and all of the people that your recruiter might want to introduce you to along the way. Remember – every introduction is an important stepping-stone to your next position and being open to these new connections will work in your favor.

4. Be honest and open

After you have connected with your recruiter, you have an opportunity to share everything you have learned about your journey and your hopes. My advice to you is this: do not waste this opportunity! Be as honest as you can be with your recruiter: tell them your hopes, where you would like to be, and where you think your strengths and weaknesses are. Being honest is the best way to create a relationship of trust and understanding between you and your recruiter.

5. Establish your working relationship

I can tell you from experience that one of the most frustrating things about recruiting work is inconsistent clients! While you are getting to know your recruiter, establish some norms within your relationship. Return calls within a reasonable time frame (24 hours, whenever possible). If you prefer to communicate by email, be upfront about this and then make sure you are responsive when your recruiter sends questions or information that way. Having a “usual way” of working together makes the process smoother and more successful for everyone involved (email, phone call, etc.).

6. Keep your recruiter updated

You have probably guessed that your recruiters have busy schedules, just like you. When they are investing their time in your job search and your success they need an update every now and then in your progress with their program. When you finish an interview or an introduction that your recruiter facilitated, it is a good idea to send a quick note or make a quick phone call to let them know how it went. Keep in mind that the more they know about the status of your search and your conversations, the more they can help.

(call after interviews, etc)

7. Know your limits

When the rubber meets the road and you have finally received the offer you have been working for, don’t let there be any surprises (for you or your recruiter!). Hopefully you have been upfront during the whole process, but this will be the time when you realize where your limits are. When the tough questions like changing location or negotiating salary come up, be sure you are clear about what you are willing to do for your dream job and communicate this with your recruiter. This will be better for everyone in the long run and it is the only way to make sure that you get the job that is truly right for you.

Follow these steps and you’ll have a smooth, rewarding and efficient job search. If you have questions about your executive job search, please contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected]