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Hack Your Job Search

Section I: Getting Tactical About Your Job Search

Section 1: 6 chapters
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Section II: Standing Out From the Crowd

Section 2: 5 chapters
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6. Working With Recruiters
Written by Tim Condon

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Recruiters can be valuable assets to help you find your first role in tech. They’ve built relationships with companies and will be able to suggest roles to apply for and help you throughout the application process. However, it’s important to understand their motivations and what you need to look for when meeting recruiters. A good recruiter can be a valuable contact throughout your tech career.

What You’ll Learn

This chapter covers what you need to understand before reaching out to recruiters, what to look out for and how to make those connections. You’ll learn:

  • How recruiters work.
  • How recruiters can help you.
  • What to look for in recruiters.
  • Where to find software developer recruiters.
  • How to interact with recruiters.

You’ll start by learning a bit about the tech recruiter role, so you know what their motivations to help you are.

How Tech Recruiters Work

Recruiters match up employers with employees to fill roles. They work with both sides of the job hunt and help people find work. Recruiters, or their companies, usually build relationships with companies first and are given roles by those companies to fill. They’ll then reach out to their existing network or go and find people suitable to fill those roles. Some companies may even only fill roles through recruiters, so you won’t be able to apply for those roles without them.

How Tech Recruiters Can Help You

Recruiters, especially external recruiters, provide more value than simply sending you job ads. They can give you advice, guidance and feedback to help you through every step of the job search process. After all, they want you to get the best position possible so they get paid!

When to Use Recruiters

Deciding when to use a recruiter doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember, you can work with a recruiter while also looking for roles yourself — even if you end up finding the same role! If you want to maximize your chances of finding a great first job, then it’s worth investigating both avenues.

What to Look for in Recruiters

Like every field, there are good recruiters and bad recruiters. Remember, most recruiters are paid when you accept a job offer. Good recruiters will work to build established relationships with companies and find people that fit the open positions. Bad recruiters will want to fill a role as quickly as possible, no matter the suitability, so they get paid.

How to Find Software Developer Recruiters

There are a number of different ways to find recruiters, especially in tech. LinkedIn is especially popular with recruiters, and it provides advanced search functionality to help recruiters find people. Recruiters also attend local meetups, conferences and events, so these can be great places to meet them.

Using LinkedIn

If you have a strong LinkedIn profile that’s up to date and advertises that you’re looking for work, recruiters will likely approach you directly. LinkedIn offers professional tools to help recruiters find people who have the skills and experience they’re looking for.

Meeting Recruiters at Events

You can also be proactive in finding recruiters. You can find them by using search engines and by asking friends and colleagues for referrals.

How to Interact With Recruiters

Finding a recruiter to work with is the first step. The next is to interact with them professionally — which, especially for someone new to the industry, can be daunting.

Reaching Out to a Recruiter

If you’ve found a recruiter to approach in person, go up to them and introduce yourself. Briefly describe who you are, what your background is and what you’re looking for. If you’re at an event where you’re likely to meet recruiters, taking along copies of your resume to give to them is a good idea.

Responding to Recruiters Who Reach Out to You

If you’re in the lucky position of having recruiters approach you, then they’ve already done the hard part. If they’re asking you for more information, or if you’re interested in the role, then you can respond with the requested details:

Asking Recruiters for Help

Once you’ve established a relationship with recruiters, ask them for guidance on your resume and LinkedIn profile. This serves two purposes: It makes it easier for them to understand your skills and experience, and having an excellent resume also makes it easier for them to put you forward for roles.

Thanking Recruiters

Finally, if you get to the position where you’ve accepted a job offer — congratulations! If you want to continue working with the recruiter in the future, it’s always a good idea to say thank you if they found the role for you. A thank-you email or card goes a long way toward the next time you need their help! You can write something like:

Key Takeaways

  • Recruiters can be a helpful tool when used properly, as they have a much wider network than you’ll be able to build on your own. They can put you in touch with roles you might not otherwise find out about.
  • Not all recruiters are good. You should be aware of their motivations and what to look out for so you can find someone you trust.
  • You can find recruiters through social media, web searches, tech conferences and local events. You can also ask people in the field for referrals.
  • LinkedIn is important — ensure your profile is up to date with all your experience, education and skills. Use keywords related to your field to show up in search. Also, be sure you’ve set your profile to “open for work” to help recruiters find you.


Action Plan

You should now have a good understanding of what recruiters offer and how they work. Now, you can start to build those contacts to help you. Next:

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