You know that feeling when you’re looking for your first job? You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Yes, there’s some excitement about facing an uncertain future.

There’s also stress. A lot of it. I remember going through job ads every day for six months. At first, I expected a lot. After six months of no results, I became desperate. I really believed a recruiter would help me get a job fast. Things didn’t turn out as I expected.

Now, I have a job. It took a lot of effort and waiting for me to get here. From this point of view, I wish I was aware of few things before sending my resume to a recruiter.

1. The job hunter is not the recruiter’s client

You think that when you send a resume to a recruiter, they treat you as a client? Yeah, I thought that, too. I expected him to do their best to find a job that fit my expectations.

That’s not how it works. The recruiter does not act as a job seeker’s agent. The company searching for employees? That’s his client. It’s not his job to get you a job. It’s his job to get the best employee for an organization’s needs.

As soon as I understood the recruiter wasn’t working for me, I started trying harder. A candidate needs to make their own efforts in the job seeking process.

2. Internships matter

I was a recent graduate. I had no work experience. My GPA wasn’t impressive. The first resume I sent to a recruiter was absolutely plain.

Then, I came across the results of an interesting survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. 31% of employers said that recent graduates were unprepared for their job search. Do you know what they consider to be the single most important credential for a recent graduate? An internship.

If I knew this, I would’ve spent my summers during college as an intern. With only one internship in my resume, I was not an attractive candidate.

3. Volunteering matters

In the results of the same survey, volunteering was listed as another important attribute of job seekers. That’s easy to do. You just find an organization whose cause feels close to your values and you start volunteering.

I found a non-governmental organization fighting for human rights in my area. I became a very active member. That experience made me grow personally. However, it also looked nice on the resume. I only wish I started volunteering sooner.

4. Even Proofreading Matters

That survey from The Chronicle of Higher Education resulted in another interesting finding. According to employers, job candidates were lacking crucial skills. Do you know what skills were mentioned first? Written and oral communication skills. How do they know you have written communication skills? It’s simple: they just check your resume and cover letter.

It was only after I hired one of the top resume services that I increased my chances of getting hired.

5. It’s Important to Stay in Touch

The first mistake I made was waiting for too long to connect with a recruiter. The second one was even more serious: I didn’t stay in touch with the one I connected with. I was simply expecting a call.

I read an article in Forbes written by a former recruiter, and this is what she wrote: “During the job hunt, I’ve kept in touch with candidates who didn’t get the job and reached out when I thought a potential job would be a fit for them.”

So yes, the recruiter expects you to keep touch. Otherwise, they will just forget about you. It’s important to send a message now and then, just to remind them about your status. Do not turn into a stalker, though.

I hope my experience will help you deal with the job hunting process more successfully than I did.

Stephanie Proper is a career advisor and avid blogger who through her articles tries to help people get a job they truly deserve. Currently, she runs her own website called ProperResumes. You can also reach her out on Facebook and Twitter.

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