How to Grab the Attention of Recruiters

By Danni White on October 31, 2017

On any given day, there are dozens of emails sitting inside of a recruiter’s email box and equally as many cover letters and resumes sitting on a recruiter’s desk that will never be opened, much less read. Recruiters are not bad people and they are not intentionally not trying to help you get hired, but their main job isn’t just to hire people for clients but to hire the best people who have the best potential to help their clients’ companies succeed. Finding amazing talent is difficult and if you were a recruiter, you would know why.

But since you’re not a recruiter and are looking to be recruited, the rules are quite different to play by. It could be that the job you dream of has a gatekeeper, meaning a recruiter, and that special person must make sure you are as golden as your polished resume and LinkedIn profile before extending the golden scepter. Your job is to get on his or her good side — in the right way.

We have all been rejected for a job at one time or another. As qualified as I think I am, I’ve been rejected from jobs way more than I care to count. Whether it is the automatic rejection email or the silence that begs for your bitterness, getting rejected for a job you really want or even halfway want, hurts badly. Let’s be honest though, in today’s technologically advanced world, it is getting statistically and logically more difficult to land the right job and slower to gain all the necessary skills that are said to be useful today (like understanding the brains of robots, for example).

Anyway, since I’ve been both a recruiter and recruited in my lifetime, I’m just going to give you a few tips on how to grab a recruiter’s attention. Sorry, I can’t really make any promises because every recruiter and job process is different, but following these tips can at least set you ahead of those who aren’t following these tips.

Try to develop a relationship first

Recruiters get dozens of resumes thrown into a job portal every single day with the hope that they will have the time to respond to each and every one of them. No one has that much time in a day or a week. But attempting to connect with the recruiter in some way (e.g., include common experiences in a cover letter or even finding what he or she is interested in and making a connection that way) can set you far ahead of those who just turned in another resume. Some people say it is poor manners to call a recruiter. It is not. Often, a recruiter is more likely to pick up a phone call and have a chat with a meaningful conversation behind it than to read through resume after resume after resume.

Make use of keywords

Typically, under all the experience you have gained, much of your resume is made up of bullet point after bullet point. Bullets are super easy for a recruiter to scan read instead of actually read. Without something to pull their attention, your resume may never get read. To beat this, take the time to make use of keywords relevant to the position you are applying to and put them in bold.

Look through the job description and find out the relevant words and make sure the recruiter doesn’t have to look through 2-3 pages before seeing these keywords.

Let the weird stuff come out

You’ve probably always heard that resumes should be strictly business. For the most part, they should. But with emotional intelligence and employee well-being increasingly becoming part of the overall discussion surrounding work and the workplace, no one is going to think you’re all that weird. With very little space to reveal things about yourself, don’t overlook your hobbies or weird quirks about yourself.

So, if you play an instrument fluently but majored in English or walk tightropes outside of the circus, state that. If anything, it lets the recruiter know you’re human and he or she may spend a little bit more time on your resume.

Highlight your values

Recruiters don’t really care that you “need” a job to make money because you have tons of student loans to pay back or that your parents won’t let you move back home because they feel you’ll never grow up. Recruiters care about their clients and getting them the best people. Don’t tell a recruiter what you are looking for in a job. Tell him or her what your skills are and how you can add value to a specific company. Everyone cares about themselves and what’s best for them; recruiters and companies are the same way. They are asking themselves, “Is this person good for my client or my company?” Few of your competition will do this. You should be different.

Don’t be disappointed when you don’t get the first job you expect. You are good enough; you just have to keep trying. But please make sure you have your stuff together before you proceed.

Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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