Times are still tough, but the good news is hiring has picked up tremendously in the PR field in the past year. More employers are finding it difficult to source the right candidates for the job and are turning to recruiters to support their open positions. And as probably many agency PR professionals could attest, recruiter inquiries about making a job change are increasing at an alarming rate – especially for Sr. Account Executives, Account Supervisors, and Account Director levels.
If you are thinking about making a change, any edge you can use to get ahead in the job hunt is one well worth taking. And sometimes, even though hiring activity is increasing in the PR field, finding the perfect job isn’t so easy on your own. More job hunters are turning to recruiters now, because they have their finger on the pulse of the industry, and they often know about jobs you won’t find anywhere else.
Why do employers give recruiters secret access to jobs? Usually they want to fill a position quickly and keep the flood of applications from hitting the desk of the hiring manager who just doesn’t have the time to review every application. It could also be a case of a confidential replacement. The employer wants to be presented with the top few candidates who can fill the need, preselected and interested. This is a benefit to the candidate because you know the candidate pool is smaller and you are one of a few candidates being presented.
How to Find a Recruiter Finding the right recruiter for your job hunt may take a little time up front, but it will be well worth it. Recruiters are either generalists or specialists, and they may focus on different geographical regions, so take that into consideration when searching.
Ask others in your industry (discreetly, if you’re not making it public that you’re looking to change jobs), and check Twitter to see other PR professionals’ recommendations or which agencies are posting interesting opportunities. LinkedIn is a good place to look up potential resources, too. Look for other people who have worked with a particular recruiter, and always ask their opinion. It’s a good idea to develop a relationship in advance – before you start looking for a job.
Building a Relationship Consider the relationship with a recruiter part of your networking circle. Even if you’re not currently looking for a job, stay in touch, and make sure to update your information (contact info, job skills, etc) so that you stay on her radar when you’re ready to change jobs.
The key to getting help from recruiters is to be a good job candidate. Treat them the way you would a potential employer, and be open, up-front, responsive, and stick to your word. If your recruiter gives you advice, such as tweaking your resume or advice before an interview, listen. She knows what her client is looking for better than you do – it’s invaluable insight into the process.
Recruiters can give you a leg up during your job search, but they can’t help you if you’re not qualified for the position or cooperate during the process. Accept the responsibility of making sure you are an attractive job candidate, and the rest will be a breeze.
PR industry hiring is heating up. I’ve had several people comment about how many calls they are getting in the past few months about jobs. My recruiting firm has been inundated with new opportunities. Yay!
Someone recently told me about how it was becoming difficult to manage the time to take phone calls from recruiters about specifics positions she was contacted about mainly through LinkedIn. She wanted to know how to respond and keep the lines of communications open without putting them off. So that’s what I wrote about for my US News & World Report post last week – Tips for Working with a Recruiter. I hope it helps!
You'll have to watch the video for Jeff's comments, but here are his five secrets in a nutshell:
Make sure your resume has the keywords that match the job description.
Apply to no more than two jobs at the company (more than that is a sign of desperation or being careless in your jobs search).
Use social networks. Recruiters want to present people who are known and respected in their field. Your chances of being contacted are much higher with an online presence.
Be prepared. Research! Know who the recruiter is when called and the job you applied for.
Cover letters are so 1990. Recruiters don't need them.
My thoughts and personal recruiter secrets:
Just say no to separate cover letters (and yes to clear and concise ones). I don't read separate cover letters unless it's a "career changer" (someone looking to go from let's say, finance to PR) and I usually can't place someone looking to make a huge career change. I do read short and concise cover letters embedded in the email. Considering the amount of information us recruiters process in a day about different people careers, we're left with the attention span of a fly. Your job is to not just tell me how great you are, but show me why you are the best candidate for my position - quickly.
Don't be a voicemail rambler. If you call to introduce yourself rather than an email intro, make sure the message portrays confidence and tell me a little bit about yourself A good rule for voicemail: 30 seconds, no more. Start your name and phone number in the beginning and again at the end. Many voicemail systems allow you to listen to the voicemail again. If it sounds off, re-record. Remember, this is the first impression.
Be easy to work with.Saw IV move Be available during the normal work day (even if only by appointment). There's a limited pass for cancellations, rearrangements, and special treatment.
Don't be an information hound unless you intend to make a career move for the right opportunity. Asking who the company is and getting information with no intention of seriously evaluating it is considered bad form.