IT careers: 3 tips for working with a recruiter

Looking for your next career move? A recruiter can be a helpful resource, but check out this expert advice before you reach out
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This year will mark the twentieth anniversary of the professional networking social channel LinkedIn. At the time of its inception, I don’t think anyone could anticipate the breadth of its use, from job searches to making direct contact with recruiters and hiring managers.

Reaching out to a recruiter can be daunting, but it can also be a crucial step in landing your dream job. Here are three tips to help you effectively communicate with recruiters and increase your chances of landing your next job opportunity.

1. Research the company and the recruiter before reaching out

Before sending that email or LinkedIn message, do your homework. Start by looking up the company and reading through its website and social media profiles to get a sense of its culture and values.

Research the recruiter and learn more about their background and experience. This will help you tailor your message to their needs and show that you’re genuinely interested in the company and the role. Use this knowledge to formulate intelligent questions about the company so the recruiter knows you’re willing to do the work.

2. Personalize your message and highlight your relevant skills and experience

When reaching out to a recruiter, it’s essential to tailor your message to their specific needs. Start by introducing yourself and explaining why you’re interested in the company and the role. Be sure to highlight relevant skills and experience that make you a strong candidate for the job.

[ Also read 8 TED Talks to sharpen your communication skills. ]

It’s also a good idea to include a link to your LinkedIn profile or resume, as this will give the recruiter a more comprehensive understanding of your background and qualifications. Let the recruiter know how your unique skills and experience will add value to the company.

3. Follow up, but don't be too pushy

If you don’t hear back from the recruiter after your initial outreach, follow up once or twice. However, it’s important to respect their time and not be too aggressive. If you don’t hear back after a couple of follow-up attempts, it’s probably best to move on and focus your efforts on other opportunities.

Often, recruiters are most willing to respond to candidates referred by a mutual connection, so leverage your network when reaching out to recruiters. If you have a friend or colleague who works at the company or knows the recruiter, consider asking them to make an introduction on your behalf.

Another trend to be aware of is recruiters’ increasing use of applicant tracking systems (ATS). These systems help recruiters sort through resumes and job applications more efficiently, but they can also make it harder for your application to stand out.

To increase your chances of getting noticed, use keywords from the job posting in your resume and cover letter, as this will help the ATS recognize the relevance of your application. LinkedIn Learning even has an online course that helps candidates better understand how to optimize their resumes for the ATS.

Finally, remember that recruiters are busy and may not have time to respond to every outreach attempt. Don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back – instead, focus on building your skills and network, and keep applying for job opportunities that align with your career goals.

With persistence and a little luck, you’ll eventually land your dream job.

[ Want more expert insights on leadership, strategy, career development, and more? Download the Ebook: 37 award-winning CIOs share essential IT career advice. ]

Sachin Gupta is the CEO and Co-Founder of HackerEarth. Sachin is a former software developer at Google and Microsoft, and now heads sales/marketing/operations at HackerEarth. A developer by trade, he is passionate about the developer community and ensuring every developer is connected with the right opportunity.