Like many Knackpackers, all of us at Knack work remotely. That’s why we decided to share our remote working experiences and tips when we saw companies ask employees to work-from-home (check out our Work from Home series here if you haven’t already). Another unique perspective that we’ve gotten from working remotely is how to prepare and execute a successful job search.
Times Are Changing
So, given that a lot of us are now in the position of looking for our next opportunity, we sat down with a bunch of job search experts to ask them how they recommend looking for your next job in this new, challenging environment.
During our discussions, we got so much information that we had to break it down into several posts covering:
- The basics behind every job search (including finding, and working with, recruiters)
- The current environment’s impact on mid-career job searches
- The current environment’s impact on executive level searches
- Recruiting Changes & Challenges Within The Tech Industry
Today’s Topic: How to Utilize Recruiters & Stand Out in a Remote Job Hunt | Interview with Gary Gardiner
In this post, we interviewed Gary Gardiner, a leader in the recruiting industry. Gary has decades of experience in recruiting, especially in engineering fields, and he shared some incredibly helpful info on how you should start your search.
Getting Started: The Basics
Before we started this series, we asked Knackpackers if they had ever worked with a recruiter and we were surprised to find out that almost 50% had no experience working with either a headhunter or recruiter (a solopreneur or firm).
Since a good number of Knackpackers have never successfully worked with a recruiter, we asked Gary questions about how to find and work with one. Additionally, Gary shared specific and actionable advice on searching for, and interviewing for, a job remotely.
First: How a Recruiter Helps You
Gary started us off with the basics of how recruiters and headhunters work.
“While some companies have recruiters on-staff, many bring in outside professionals, often called a ‘recruiter,’ ‘search consultant,’ or ‘headhunter,’ to find the talent they need. A recruiter’s job is to use their network to go out and find great candidates. Once they find talent, the recruiter will then introduce the two parties.
A recruiter often acts as a broker, and is paid a fee, which is sometimes based on a percentage of the candidate’s starting salary (more details on how recruiters are compensated here). Good recruiters make it a point to really understand what a candidate is looking for (i.e. anything from company culture to salary to commuting time, etc.) in order to successfully match them with a company.”
Second: How to Reach Out to a Recruiter
Another common question from our survey of Knackpackers was, “Where do I find a good recruiter? How do I reach out to them?” Gary had great answers for both questions.
“There are two go-to places you have to use when you’re looking to connect with a recruiter in your industry:
- Your Network: While you may not want people at your current job to know you’re looking, you should have connections in the industry to other professionals. Reach out to past colleagues and friends in your industry to see if they had success working with a recruiter. Referrals are an excellent way to find a recruiter or recruiting agency.
- LinkedIn: This platform is a critical part of any job search. I would recommend that you type in your industry and the word “Recruiter” in the search box. You may want to try a few different terms that describe your industry. Then, reach out to recruiters directly on the website.”
Third: The Importance of LinkedIn
As Gary mentioned, LinkedIn is a critical part of your job search, as it’s the established online network for professional connections and career growth.
“When I’m looking to fill a job for a client, LinkedIn is one of the first places I go,” shares Gary. “I have an extensive network on my LinkedIn, and the platform will also show me secondary and tertiary connections. LinkedIn allows me to search for candidates with a really specific background. Anyone looking for a job today must have a full and robust LinkedIn profile!”
But not everyone understands how to use LinkedIn effectively. Many candidates post fluff and filler words that don’t really describe what they do.
Gary’s #1 LinkedIn tip? Max out your word count.
Max Out Word Count:
Explains Gary: “Every position you have listed has a maximum number of words you can use. Be sure to include keywords relevant to your industry, and get really specific with them. For example, in the HVAC industry, I often look for keywords like ‘heat rejection,’ ‘closed loop,’ or ‘digital calorimeter.’ Ask yourself, ‘What would someone search for if they were looking for a candidate like me?’ and use those keywords and terms.”
Fourth: Getting Your Resume Ready for a Recruiter or Recruiting Agency
One of the worst parts of a job search is preparing your resume. Recruiters and recruiting agencies can get hundreds (or thousands!) of resumes a day, so it’s important to have yours ready to be reviewed and shared with recruiters’ clients.
While there are a lot of resources for preparing a resume, Gary had an actionable piece of advice to make updating your resume far less painless.
He says to ask yourself: “What measurable accomplishments have I achieved in this role?”
Importance of Quantifiable Results
“A prospective employer’s number one question is going to be, ‘What value will this person add to my team and organization?’” shares Gary. “The best way to answer that question is by sharing specific and measurable results you’ve accomplished.”
Here are a few examples:
- Do you manage a budget? How much (ballpark) is it?
- Have you saved the company money or cut down on project timelines by a certain %?
- Do you have direct reports? How many?
- How much revenue did you earn the company through a specific initiative or product launch you were part of?
“Share measurable accomplishments on your resume,” says Gary. “The company wants to know what you did, specifically.”
Remote Job Search: Tips to Stand Out From the Competition
The job market has a lot more candidates than it did a few months ago, which means it’s critical to stand out. And Gary suggested some great tips to help you stand out.
Job Search Tip #1: Make a 30 Second Video
“I love it when a candidate shares a short video they’ve made that introduces themselves. It doesn’t have to be high production value (you can film it at home on your laptop). A video makes you much more memorable. It also makes you stand out, because so few people bother to do it.”
Gary recommends that a video use a short script (shared below), and that you include a few of your accomplishments at your old job. You’re probably not going to love your video (it can be hard to hear one’s own voice), but push through and share it with a recruiter.
Script: “Hi, my name is (), and I’m looking for a new position as a (title) in (industry). In my current position at (), I have accomplished (list).”
Keep it short and simple. No one expects you to be the next Spielberg, but recruiters and hiring managers will definitely note that you went the extra mile!
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Job Search Tip #2: Be Responsive
People are under a lot of stress right now, so it’s easy to forget to check one’s email inbox. “Many industries are still hiring and growing right now,” shares Gary. “It’s important that you stay responsive and check your messages frequently throughout the day, so your recruiting team can get info back to the company ASAP – and keep the process moving forward!”
Thanks for all the great ideas, Gary!
You can connect with Gary Gardiner on LinkedIn here. Be sure to join the Knack email list to get the next post in this series!
Questions & Next Steps
Do you have questions or tips about the remote job search? Share them in the comments below! If you found this post helpful, please share it with a few friends or colleagues who could benefit from it!