Yesterday I wrote about asking “do you know any recruiters in ____?” and how that is the wrong question to ask.
Well, let me play devil’s advocate and assume it *is* the right question … here’s what I’d advise you to do. Note I’m not a recruiter, and never have been… but I have networked with recruiters for the last three years.
– DO NOT send them a resume and cover letter and think you are good. As I mentioned yesterday, recruiters can get hundreds of resumes each day. Even if you are superman or superwoman to them, it’s likely you’ll get lost in the mix.
– When they ask if you know someone who might be a fit, share info with them! It pains me to hear people talk about recruiters as if they are sharks who only want to get into your address book… but if you are open with them, and continually give to them, they remember who you are. You help them in your job, you share what you are made of, and many of them will reciprocate.
– Keep in touch with them. Recruiters are busy, and go through lots of names and faces and resumes. If you want to stay forefront on their mind, you need to keep yourself there. From a “how’s it going? Are there any openings in my field I can help you with (ie, make introductions to people in my field)?” to “I just wanted to let you know where I’m at in my job search (or what company I’m working for),” keeping in touch with them on a regular basis will keep you towards the top of their list.
– Send them out-of-the-blue introductions. When you meet someone who a recruiter should know, do an email introduction to both parties. Eventually you can become known to that recruiter as someone who has a strong network of qualified professionals. YOU become the power connector, and a peer to the recruiter… and that’s when some very interesting introductions might come from him or her (when they trust you).
So it’s okay to ask about specific recruiters, but just realize that you have to put work into the relationship.