Have you ever thought about working with a recruiter, or have you been scared off by other people’s bad experiences? The truth is, working with a recruiter who specializes in your field can be the best thing you do for your career.

When you work with a recruiter who knows your industry, your field and your market, they will also know about opportunities that you’ve never heard about. They’ll know who’s hiring, who’s not and which companies are good or bad to work for, or whether a particular organization is a good fit for your personality and your goals.

They can introduce you as a candidate to companies who may not even be actively hiring but can always use people with the right skills and personality. They can help you accelerate your job search by coaching you on your resume and your interview skills and helping you with your follow-up—or your salary negotiations!

And if the recruiter you choose is truly a professional, they’ll want to build and maintain a relationship with you, not just look at you as a one-shot deal. It’s in their best interests to create a network of talented professionals that they can reach out to for information or referrals. That relationship can be a two-way street, as they can continue to be a valuable resource for you, too.

So how does it work?

You might be contacted directly by a recruiter looking to expand his or her network, or you might seek out a professional recruitment firm and register to work with them. Either way, the next step is for you and the recruiter to meet so you can discuss your skills, experience and career objectives. The recruiter should review your resume and possibly conduct a skills assessment if required.

Your job is to be clear about what you want now and in the future, so the recruiter can focus on potential opportunities in alignment with your specific goals and conduct a targeted search. You’ll also want to be open to guidance about making changes that could enhance your prospects.

How do you find a recruiter that’s right for you?

First, look for a firm specializing in your field. Second, look for a firm with a history of success, especially in your geographic area, and a strong network in the business community. A reputable firm should be able to provide you with references and success stories. You should also do your own research to see what turns up.

Finally, make sure the recruiter is someone you’ll be comfortable working with. Personality match is important, and if your recruiter “gets you,” he or she will be more likely to find the job where you’ll fit in best.

Want more insight? Read our previous post on the topic, The Advantages to Working with a Recruiter.

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