When you’re job searching at an executive level, it’s probable that you’ll interact with executive recruiters at some point, as many companies hiring at the senior level use search firms to help them find the top talent needed to fill important positions.
While executive recruiters can help place you with a company, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, they are working for the company that hired them, and their number one priority is satisfying their client. To do this, they need to find the best, qualified person for the job who has the most likely chance of working out long-term.
Recruiters often receive or seek out the resumes of many qualified job seekers, and when you’re in a competitive industry, finding a way to stand out may seem intimidating. The best thing you can do is make it as easy as possible for recruiters to want to work with you, and accomplishing this starts with making their jobs as easy for them as you can.
Here are a few tips to help you get on track:
Respond to Communication Requests in an Efficient and Timely Manner
Initial communication is your first opportunity to demonstrate your punctuality, professionalism, and attentiveness. If a recruiter emails you, do your best to respond quickly and address every aspect of the email appropriately. Being detail-oriented is necessary no matter what industry you’re in, and you can subtly highlight this quality in your initial communication by tending to every point and question that a recruiter reaches out to you about.
The same is true for phone calls. If you miss a call from a recruiter, call back as soon as possible (at appropriate hours of course), and if they leave a voicemail, make a note of all of the main points of the message and address those in your call back.
Remember, prompt, thorough communication softly suggests that you’re reliable and are serious about the open position.
Send Documents in the Specified Format
Executive recruiters are extremely busy people who are juggling multiple tasks simultaneously. Because of this, they have to have their workflow ironed out in a way that will allow them to be the most efficient, and this sentiment extends to how they request documents.
For example, if a recruiter asks you to send your CV letter in a Word document PDF file, send it as requested instead of in an RFP file. This sounds simple enough, but many job seekers are applying for positions multiple places, and they send out mass amounts of resumes without noting the details of what each opening specifies.
Taking the small amount of time to change up the format is a small way of showing that you can follow instructions and that you respect their time and preferences, two things that matter tremendously in the business world.
Be Straightforward With Your Resume
Very few job seekers out there have pitch-perfect resumes. Experiencing employment gaps, suddenly leaving a company without notice, having low levels of experience in a sought-after industry all contribute to why job seekers occasionally bend the truth during the hiring process. In fact, a 2017 report showcased that 85% of employers noticed job applicants lying on their resumes.
While that percentage surely is overwhelming, the key takeaway point should be that the fibs were uncovered. Between reference checks, background checks, and interview screening, hiring professionals know how to read between the lines and get to the truth. Honesty is one of the most essential aspects of any relationship, professional or not, so if there is a cause for concern on your resume, it’s best to address it head-on with integrity.
Sharpen Up Your Resume
If you’re using the same resume that you’ve been using for years, it may be time to spend some time refining and polishing it up. Recruiters are well-versed in quickly determining who they should call in for an interview, so it’s important to make sure you follow modern best practices and avoid the most common resume errors executive recruiters notice. To help you get started, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Starting your resume with an objective is no longer best practice. Instead, focus on creating a strong and captivating resume summary as well as a title that relates to the position you’re hoping to secure.
- Be specific with your achievements and experience; vagueness doesn’t make a strong impact.
- Edit thoroughly for typos.
- Place your most relevant and recent work experience at the top of the first page of your resume. You want your qualifications to be instantly recognized.
- Study the job description, and tailor your resume to best highlight how you’d be a solid match.
Show Up to Interviews On Time
Punctuality is an obvious requirement in the world of job searching, but showing up late does more than making a poor impression about your time management skills. An interview is your chance to shine and convince the recruiter that you have what it takes to be a solid addition to their client’s team. There is no guarantee that the recruiter you’re meeting with will be able to extend the duration of the interview if you show up late, so you could be minimizing the time that you have to truly sell yourself or ask any important, clarifying questions.
Of course, unexpected things happen, so do your best to leave earlier than necessary, and always give the recruiter a heads up if you’re going to be late.
Conduct Some Pre-Interview Company Research
Learning about the company a recruiter is seeking top talent for goes a long way. It shows you’re serious about the position, and it also will give you some solid talking points that will help make a strong impression. Taking the time to learn about the company’s culture, history, and purpose sends the message that you’re not trying to score any job you can get your hands on, but rather, you’re going after the specific job that you want.
Even better, use examples of your past experiences and relate those to how you could serve the current needs of the company-in-question. It’s easy to say that you could be an asset, but the more that you can specify how and why you plan to be of service, the more believable that statement will be.
Optimize Your Online Profiles
Sometimes you’ll be the one searching and applying for a job that a recruiter advertises, but other times, they’re searching for qualified applicants online. Because of this, it’s necessary to make sure that your professional online profiles are optimized enough that you can actually be found when someone searches for a position you may be interested in.
Include your job title on your LinkedIn (and any other professional platform you use) as often as possible. Place it in your profile title, in your summary, and anywhere else that would be appropriate. The more you optimize your profile around the key search terms that relate to your position, the more likely you’ll be found when a hiring professional is searching for a candidate.
Job searching has a tendency to be draining and time-consuming, but hopefully, these tips help narrow down a few ways to make it easier to get the positive attention of any executive recruiters you come in contact with along your way. Like many areas in life, most of your success will come down to being courteous, considerate, professional, and prepared–good luck!