Use these tips to foster fruitful relationships with recruiters and land your next job.

When you're searching for a new job, working with a skilled recruiter can make all the difference. A recruiter helps open doors to your dream company, provides input on your marketing materials, and coaches you on what works and doesn't work during interviews for a specific client — all things that can be extremely valuable during your job search. Below, we cover tips for working with recruiters, including what to do and what not to do. 

Tips for Working with Recruiters to find a job

As you navigate how to work with a recruiter to find a job,you may seek out a recruiter yourself, or a recruiter may seek you out if you seem like a fit for one of their job openings. No matter how you end up working with a recruiter, the following tips are intended to guide you on how to foster a positive relationship and get the most out of your partnership when working with recruiters. 

1. Know your goals

Before you begin working with recruiters, it's a good idea to consider your career goals. 

  • What is your niche? 

  • What type of company culture is a good fit for you? 

  • What is your dream position? 

  • What companies would you love to work for? 

Answering these questions will help you secure the right recruiter for your career path. Also, the clearer you are, the easier it will be for a recruiter to identify the right job fit for you.

2. Keep your resume current

Most recruiters will want to see your resume before meeting with you. Be proactive and make sure your resume is up to date before contacting and working with recruiters. Consider investing in a professional resume-writing service, like TopResume, to ensure you have an optimized and marketable resume that will truly sell you.

3. Interview recruiters

You'll divulge lots of information about your work history and job goals to recruiters along the way. It's important that you trust those you're working with and are able to get along with them. Before working with recruiters, take the time to interview and get to know them to ensure you feel good about working with them. If you have any hesitation, get clear on why, as it might be an indication you should move on and keep looking.

4. Be courteous and respectful

Like anyone, recruiters want to work with people they like. Treat them with respect and be polite when interacting with them. Also, keep in mind that recruiters have full calendars because they are helping many people like you land jobs. Be respectful of their time by keeping communications brief and to the point, and don't inundate them with phone calls and emails.

Expert tip: Talk with recruiters the same way you would a hiring manager. Your communication with your recruiter is an indication of how you will represent yourself to a hiring manager, and you want that impression to be positive and professional.

5. Follow through with commitments

When working with recruiters, the recruiter needs to be able to trust your word and commitment to show up. If a recruiter has scheduled an interview or meeting for you and you've agreed to attend, follow through. It reflects poorly not only on yourself but also on the recruiter if you don't. 

6. Trust recruiters to do their job

In most cases, recruiters have the expertise and knowledge to help you navigate your job search. They also have a relationship with the client and understand the client's needs. They know what they're talking about, so give them your trust that they will guide you in the right direction.

7. Help recruiters help you

You will be sharing a lot of job-related information with recruiters, so don't hold back. Openly share pertinent information with them, even if you think it's something you need to hide. 

  • For example, if you've held several positions in a short period of time or have gaps in employment, it can be helpful if you equip the recruiter with information as to why. That way, he or she knows how to best represent you to employers.

Casie Luke, Houston-based recruitment and talent acquisition expert who's been working in the field for over a decade, shares: "Lots of movement in your career is okay. Just tell recruiters up front so they know how to market your background and job changes to their clients. If you have had three jobs in five years, most employers aren't going to be excited about it. However, if you can say the first company went out of business and the second was over an hour each way for commuting — those are good reasons to be looking for a new job and help to validate why you've moved around a lot."

8. Be open about working with other recruiters

How honest can you be with a recruiter? When it comes to your job search, be as honest as possible. 

Recruiters appreciate honesty on all fronts, from your work experience to whether or not you are working with other recruiters. They understand that you're in the market to get a job and that you'll likely have eggs in various baskets.  

Casie Luke also states: "There is nothing worse than a recruiter getting to the final stages of a job search to find out that they will not be reaping any rewards for the sweat they have put in for you. Make sure you tell the recruiter all of the places that you have already applied so they don't double-dip or waste effort."

Recruiters will respect you for your honesty. It's also a small world out there, and you don't want to leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth by withholding the truth.

9. Tailor your communications

Effective communication goes both ways when you're working with recruiters. Ask your recruiter what his or her preferred method of communication is, be it text, email, or phone calls. If their preferred method doesn't line up with yours, then share what your preferred communication is, and work together to come up with the best way to correspond so neither of you misses each other's messages.

10. Ask for constructive criticism

Be open to receiving constructive criticism to help you improve your marketing materials and interviewing process. If the recruiter doesn't offer constructive criticism voluntarily, ask for feedback. This can only help you improve your chances.

11. Help recruiters find you online and offline

Many recruiters prefer to find you versus you coming to them. Make it easy for recruiters to find you online by having a current LinkedIn profile, writing professional articles for publications in your field, creating a professional blog, or getting involved in online communities like Quora. 

Offline, being active in your community, attending networking events, and teaching courses are viable ways to get noticed by recruiters.

Related post: 10 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

12. Track your submissions

Many don't think of this when working with recruiters, but it's wise to keep a book or list of your job submissions. It can be frustrating for both you and recruiters if you receive a call about a position and you're clueless as to which position is being referenced.

13. Offer up referrals

Businesses thrive on referrals, and external recruiters operate very much like a business. Offering qualified referrals to a recruiter will put you in their good graces and at the top of their list for future job openings for which you are qualified. 

TopResume's Career Advice Expert, Amanda Augustine, shares that even when a recruiter calls you about a position you're not interested in, you can still put a positive spin on the situation. She offers the following advice to her clients:

"When a recruiter contacts you with a job that isn't a fit for or of interest to you, thank the recruiter for reaching out, explain the type of job you are interested in, and then offer to put the recruiter in touch with someone from your network who would be a better fit for their current open requisition."

14. Don't burn bridges

Let's say you come across a recruiter that's not your favorite, or you don't feel it's a great fit after you've started working with them. In that case, you can simply have a professional conversation with the recruiter to let them know you've found another recruiter to work with or see if there's some compromise that can be made to improve your working relationship. 

Whatever you do, however, do not get nasty with them or post anything negative anywhere online. It's a small world, as they say, and word gets around. Other recruiters might hear about or see it and not want to work with you moving forward if you take such an approach. 

15. Keep in touch even after you've landed a job

In some cases, a recruiter can become a lifelong career advocate. You never know when you might be in search of a new job, so if you click with your recruiter, make an attempt to stay in touch with him or her for the long term. This can be as simple as an email every six months to remain on their radar. This also gives you an opportunity to offer up referrals and possibly help a colleague of yours out, as well.

Recruiters are valuable resources 

It's a competitive job market out there, and working with recruiters can help you navigate it, from identifying employers and helping you prepare for the interview to negotiating salary. Put these tips to use to create a partnership that will help you land your next job.

Make sure your resume is up to par before sending it to your recruiter. Get a free resume critique to find out where you stand!

Recommended reading:

Related Articles: