When looking for a job, do you still spend all of your time looking for openings on job boards and sending off dozens of applications? That’s so 2004! No one does that anymore.
All the cool kids are using their network to get referrals for jobs that aren’t on job boards, and the coolest of the cool kids don’t just stop with people they know — they reach out and network with recruiters. But hold on, tiger. Don’t go firing off emails to every recruiter you come across. You have to find the right kind of recruiter for you. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Check your network
First the obvious: use your network!
Reach out through LinkedIn, emails, or however you stay in contact with your contacts, and focus on people in your industry and with the same level of experience. See who has dealt with recruiters, or knows someone who has, and write down anyone who gets positive reviews.
Stick to recruiters in your niche. They will have dealt with companies and employers in your industry and can help guide you through the hiring process.
2. Network on niche job boards
You might be thinking, “He just poked fun at job boards, and now he’s saying they’re useful?” Yes. Yes I am.
Good niche job boards have two advantages over larger, more general job boards like Monster and Indeed:
- Job postings might mention a recruiter or recruiting firm by name, so you can research and contact them.
- They have an established community of professionals in your industry, with whom you can communicate and build your network.
So, second verse same as the first — reach out to the community and see if people are willing to recommend recruiters they know and like. Barring that, you can see which recruiters and firms work in your niche.
3. Find recruiters on Twitter
Twitter has become a fantastic resource for both jobseekers and recruiters. You can use it to find recruiters in your niche and engage with them.
In the search bar, type something like “accounting recruiter” or “IT recruiter” to find recruiters who specialize in an industry or specific job. On the left side of the results page, click on “people” to narrow the search so you only find actual recruiters.
Another resource is Followerwonk.com, where you can perform the same type of search as on Twitter, but narrowed by location.
Check each person’s Twitter profile for links to a personal website or recruiting firm’s site. Recruiters you find this way will be similar to those you find on niche job boards — you’ll need to do some research on them unless you know someone who can recommend them.
4. Find recruiters with Boolean strings
Here’s a new twist on an old trick: A lot of recruiters use Boolean strings to find candidates through Google, job boards, or social media sites such as LinkedIn. You can use the same method to find recruiters.
You can use strings to search for recruiters on specific sites, such as LinkedIn. On Google, search something like the following: site:linkedin.com “marketing recruiter” AND San Francisco –inurl:dir.
Here’s that string broken down:
- site: restricts the results to what it can find ONLY in that website, which was LinkedIn in the above example
- “Marketing recruiter” restricts results to pages that contain the exact phrase within the quotation marks
- AND San Francisco further restricts results to the phrase in quotes that also have the location somewhere on the page
- -inurl:dir removes any results that go to directories, which won’t be useful for you
Basically, use the same formula and commands that recruiters use to find candidates, but sub in “recruiter.”
5. Reach out and be courteous
Once you’ve made a complete list, refine it to a handful of recruiters that seem best for you and your goals. Next, reach out to them while you keep in mind a few important things:
- They have to maintain a good relationship with employers, not you specifically.
- They’re knowledgeable about your niche, so they can give valuable advice.
- Having a good relationship with recruiters could help your career for years.
- Staying in contact with them helps keep your relationship strong.
- Whatever help or advice they give you, thank them for their help and advice.
The last thing to remember is that these tips should not be the only method you use for finding a job. You shouldn’t stop searching through job boards — yes, job boards — and building your personal brand online.
Brian Stewart is a career content writer at ResumeTarget.com. They are the only resume writing company that offers a professionally written resume coupled with the guidance of recruiters to guarantee that your resume will get results.