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Help me Help you

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

You really want a hiring manager or recruiter to notice you? Here’s how:

I have been working in recruiting and staffing for the last 15 years of my life, and I feel I need to publish this public service advisory, now more than ever!

With the proliferation of LinkedIn, it is easier now, more than ever, to directly contact hiring managers and recruiters and get an audience instantly. In fact, it is not unusual for a recruiter to get upwards of 100 new connection invites on a weekly basis and with that, requests for help in a job search.

I’m going to clue you in on a little known secret: nothing would make me happier than to be able to find you, the diamond in the rough. To find that candidate that everyone wants to talk to and to discover he or she is the answer to all of my recruiting dreams. Help me find you.

Help me help you:

When I get an email from a candidate who says “I’d love to have a conversation with you about your organization and explore where I might fit,” this actually does not impress me. Actually, it tells me you know nothing about my organization and you have not even taken ONE MINUTE to look at my careers page. (And BTW, apparently LinkedIn has published a sample email template to this affect because now I get identical emails from hundreds of people. Tacky, no?)

Let me break this down for you. If I actually responded to requests for an exploratory phone call, that would last a minimum of 30 minutes each. Multiply that by, let’s say 15 out of the 100, that would take up almost a full work day. All this time to help someone “explore” the many facets of my company where I may or may not have any openings? Someone who hasn’t even taken the time to see for themselves first? I would get fired for not actually filling any roles!

With that said, there is a RIGHT way to get my attention.

1. Do not ignore the fact that we are strangers and that you are asking me to help you. It is ok to do that and to draw attention to it, when you do it the right way. Perhaps you open your email by acknowledging that this is coming out of the blue or that you recognize we don’t know each other yet.

2. Do your homework about us. Have you even considered whether your skill set fits in my organization? (i.e. If I’m an exploration and production company and your expertise is chemical plant turnarounds, then the likelihood of a fit is slim.) If your skill set DOES fit, is there a current opening? Tell me which one! Do not make me do the work for you. If you don’t do this, I assume you are not resourceful, not creative and can’t work autonomously.

3. Find a connection: Do you know anyone that works here? Name drop! Or have you heard something about us in the news? Or through a friend? Differentiate yourself. And give me a reason to call you.

4. Sell it! In one sentence. Don’t send me your cover letter. Talk to me personally and try to build a connection.

I recognize that in order to accomplish all this, it will take a fair amount of time and effort but in order to stand out from the pack, you have to work to actually stand out from the pack. It is better to thoroughly and correctly apply to ten companies (where your skill set fits) than to shoot your resume out somewhat blindly with canned wording you cut and paste the same for each. Doing this makes you just another applicant and we will see your resume when you apply to a role. Maybe. After we talk to the guy that blew our socks off in his or her personalized email.

Happy hunting!

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