I am often asked about the different job search methods because so many job seekers seem to hit a brick wall when it comes to dealing with agencies or recruiters. In fairness to them you cannot expect them to write back to 200 people to say they have been unsuccessful, they just don't have the time, nor is it particularly good use of their time, although I fully appreciate the view that it is perhaps somewhat discourteous.
However, recruiters are still important people to consider in the job search process. Remember though that they are not here to find you a job - they exist to search for the right candidate on behalf of employers. Therefore, don't rely on just a handful of agencies to cover the whole of the market - I do recommend registering with plenty so that you don't miss that important opportunity - but I accept it's impossible to keep in touch regularly with all of them.
When you first see an advertised opportunity on the internet, the very first thing you should do before you hit the "Apply" button is to pick up the phone to the recruiter first. Tell them that you have seen the advert and that you would like to find out more information, that you are interested in the role, and also that you would like to know the key criteria. Engage with the person on the other end of the phone, and get them interested in you as ultimately you could be the solution to their problem.
Before you finish get their private email address and direct phone number. If you rely on applying through the system the chances are that your application will be lost in the pile of 200 in some general inbox. Make sure that you are emailing the recruiter directly, and then ensure you tweak your CV and covering letter to reflect the key criteria required. Don't waste your time applying for the job with a generic CV, and make sure you capture the reader's attention in the profile with the right experience and skills.
Don't then make the mistake of just leaving things, you must pick up the phone again within a day or so to make sure that the recruiter has received your CV. Once they have confirmed this, you can then ask about the time scale they are operating to, when the CV will be submitted to the client, and when they are expecting some feedback. Diarise a date to follow up again with the recruiter to see if they have heard back from the client. Finally, send the recruiter an invitation to connect on Linkedin.
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