A few Recruiter pet peeves and some helpful advice

As a well-heeled Executive Search professional with over 25 years of experience, I can’t quite say I’ve seen it all, but almost. We’ve all been through the ringer this economic time around – candidates, companies and recruiters. Still lots of folks out there looking and emailing resumes and inquiries. Even though I’m a specialty boutique shop, my Inbox is crowded daily from unsolicited inquiries.

And it’s you, you tired interview warrior that I’d like to address this blog to. Recruiters, like lawyers (sorry guys) have somewhat controversial reputations. You love us or you hate us, but we are here to stay. I can blog another day on what in my mind makes the exception from the rule, but I’ll have to gird up for the inevitable backlash!

For those of you trying to catch a recruiter’s attention, make an impression and most importantly, get a response, there’s a few do’s and don’ts when you’re sending an unsolicited resume, whether it’s for a specific opening or not.

First, if you’re responding to an opening be sure you make some effort to sound professional. Your grammar, spelling and tone are noted. We Headhunters look for individuals who engage well, whether it’s via email or phone. After all, if you’re first impression is as a dud, why would we respond or ever consider representing you to a client? And sign your name. It’s rude, even in the age of emails, not to address the email (if it’s not blind) or to include who you are at the bottom during initial correspondence. Now I’m not saying write a love letter, but be concise, professional and polite. You do want our help after all.

Which leads me to length. Like your resume, if your email drones on and on and on, well – I’m just not going to read it. Again, be concise. Get in, get out – make your point. Got it?

Now that I’ve warmed up, I’d like to address a few other pet peeves (I’ll bet my HR clients would agree with some as well). When you are emailing a Recruiter you haven’t been referred to, be sure to attach a resume, in Word and/or PDF, but attach it. I get mildly annoyed at hard to read, poorly structured inline text resumes or even worse, career summaries. Most of us have CRM systems, and if you want to be added to my database you better have something that can be read by it.

Even if you’re on a mass ’email every search professional in the world’ campaign, make each email individualized, if possible, even it’s changing one or two lines. Also don’t waste precious time by emailing the wrong recruiter. Being emailed by candidates who splash you with IT requests when you place accountants is a patent waste of time. Lose/lose for everyone. If you’re not sure, inquire, don’t assume. Oh and whatever you do, bcc all the recruiter’s email addresses you’re sending the mass email too. Recruiters are vain. We like to believe we’re the only one you’re sending your resume to.

Lastly, for now – do make sure your resume or CV includes chronological dates. Just know that if you don’t include dates (even if you’ve been out of regular employment for some time), it  will automatically be assumed you’re a job jumper and ‘delete’ is the immediate response.

Search professionals generally scan all incoming information, whether it’s a cover email and/or attachment quickly. We want to ascertain in seconds your skill set, industry type, title and length of employment so we can decide to respond immediately or include you in the stable of potential stars our clients may have need of in the future.

So, good luck and make every email count!