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Why a recruiter can be your ticket to a dream job

By Deanne Gage,

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Thinking about a new job? A recruiter can help you find it. While most recruiters are hired by companies (not by you) to find job candidates, they have to have meaningful contacts with people like you. Here’s how you can rise to the top of any recruiter’s list:

Image of a job candidate being interviewed by a company-hired recruiter.1. Do be open to a discussion.

Even if you are content in your current job, if a recruiter contacts you, take the call or reply to the email. “You never want to turn away a conversation,” says Eileen Chadnick, certified coach and principal at Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto and writer of the blog TGIM Work-Life. “You’ll be seen as an accessible person. You might not be looking today but you might be six months from now if your company changes direction.”

What if you want to change jobs but aren’t enthusiastic about the position the recruiter has available? It’s still a good idea to make a connection and talk about what you are looking for, says Jessa Chupik, a Toronto-based executive search consultant with Four Corners Group.

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Even if you’re working with a promising recruiter who has found you the dream opportunity, don’t end your search there. “A recruiter is only one facet in your job search strategy,” says Chadnick. “You also need to network, to scour all other opportunities, whether it be regularly checking job boards or cold-calling organizations to set up meetings.”

3. Don’t let your guard down.

Bonded with your recruiter over several coffee meetings? While it’s tempting to tell him or her about what you really think about your current job, don’t go there. “Recruiters may be the intermediaries, but consider your meetings [with them] like interviews with the direct hiring manager,” says Chadnick.

4. Do your homework.

If you’re a professional engineer, don’t call up a recruiter who focuses on the healthcare industry, says Chupik. Make sure the fit is right. Do some research online to find the best recruiter for your position, sector and years of experience. Once you think you’ve found someone appropriate, be prepared to articulate the type of position you want and what best qualifies you for the role. Chupik notes that many job candidates reach out to her hoping she’ll be able to answer that for them. “It’s a waste of my time and their time,” she says.

5. Do stay in touch.

That doesn’t mean emailing the recruiters every month to find out about new positions. Remember, relationships are a two-way street. Stand out from the pack by offering value to recruiters, suggests Ross Woledge, an associate with Odgers Berndtson. “See what they are working on, offer to help with any challenging searches they have. If you give them a tip that your last company is doing some hiring, for example, that’s top value and then they will in turn go out of their way for you.”

If you made an impression with a recruiter but weren’t the selected candidate and ended up somewhere else, drop the recruiter a note with your new coordinates. “You just never know,” says Chadnick. “Careers are marathons, not sprints. Even if the right recruiter doesn’t find you the right job now, she might find you one once you’ve gained new experience elsewhere.”

More job-hunting tips:

Advice from Eileen Chadnick on preparing for retirement: Seven questions to ask yourself before you retire.

Working well More bright ideas for managing your career and making the most of your benefits.

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Andrew @ She Think's I'm Cheap on

Recruiters may also have connections to HR staff and hiring managers that you don’t, if you develop a good relationship with them they will use these contacts to your advantage.

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