Top recruiters share their tips for securing a job

Top recruiters share their tips for securing a job

I recently went to a number of conferences, including the Rise & Lead Summit and WIT Regatta, and had the opportunity to meet and talk to recruiters from top companies. Based on the information I got from them, I have put together a list of top tips for anyone looking to get a new job, or to take the next step in their career.

Tips for updating your CV

Before starting any job hunting, it’s a good idea to tweak your CV, to make sure it’s up-to-date and shows you in the best light. Think about these things:

Highlight your skills

If you are changing jobs, industry or position, you need to highlight your transferable skills. You might not have the right industry-related experience, but you must show that you have the right skill set.

Think about the recruiter

Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. Remember that recruiters are also humans: they are busy, and they get tired too - so you should use simple and clear language. Your CV should show that you are the one to solve their problem. What’s their problem? Finding the right candidate!

Include the right keywords

Did you know that many recruitment companies nowadays first scan CVS using a special software, which checks if there is a match between your CV and the role description for the job? This software works by checking your CV for specific keywords. You can use free software (Wordcloud, for instance) to check which keywords are used most in the job advert and make sure to include them in your CV and cover letter.

Tips for using LinkedIn

It’s not just about the CV: social media can be useful for your job search. In particular, you should be using LinkedIn.

Use keywords (again!)

You want recruiters to be able to find you on LinkedIn - and again this involves using the right keywords. Check the profiles of the kinds of jobs you are after and highlight the skills and keywords that are used there, then make sure they are sprinkled all over your LinkedIn profile too.

Update your photo

It might be your favourite picture of yourself, but if it’s out-of-date, it might be doing your job search harm. If you connect with someone offline first, you want them to be able to recognise you online. Make sure your photo is up-to-date. 

Keep your profile active

LinkedIn is a useful tool, so use it! Continuously work on your network, reach out to people, connect and contribute. Share relevant information, comment on other people’s posts. You want to get noticed and you want your profile to get ranked higher, so it comes up in the searches the recruiters are doing.

Tips for nailing your interview

Your hard work has paid off and you’ve landed an interview. Congratulations! Now what? 

Prepare some questions

It might seem basic, but you’d be surprised how many people fail on this count. Always prepare to ask questions. It will show the interviewer how you think, whether you are prepared for the interview, and how you feel about the position and the job. Asking questions is crucial in every interview but especially if you are applying for senior positions.

Figure out your strengths and competencies

You can bet you’ll be asked about this. Consider what kind of strengths and competencies are required for the job and make sure you have a good understanding of your own strengths and how they match up.

Use the STARR technique

This is a great way to structure your interview answers. If asked to talk about certain situations: “So, can you tell me about the time you had a conflict with your boss...” use the STARR model: Situation, Task, Action, Result and Reflection. Do not forget to mention the two last ones.

Don’t neglect your growth

It might be hard, but be prepared to talk about your failures! Although we often prefer to talk about our successes only, failure and being able to admit it shows that we have a growth mindset - something companies are looking for more and more often.

Dress appropriately

It’s a good idea to dress according to the company’s culture when attending your interview. Don’t wear a three-piece suit when you go to a gaming company and don’t wear jeans to a bank. If in doubt, err on the side of caution - it’s better to feel overdressed than underdressed! 

Networking is key

Networking is important when looking for a new job. Some tips:

Get yourself referred

Networking and referrals are also key. Some companies pay their employees a referral fee for new hires and research shows that the colleagues who were referred stay longer in a given position than the ones who weren’t.

Network both online and offline

Network both online (LinkedIn) and offline. Visit relevant conferences, talk to people and then connect with them online.

The recruitment process

The recruitment process is a tough one - but bear these tips in mind to keep you going. 

Last-minute changes are common

Be aware that sometimes the hiring procedure can change during the process. For example, a company was looking for a candidate with 5+ years of experience, but they realised during the interviews that they actually needed someone with 10+ years of experience. Nothing personal.

Know about buying, building and borrowing talent

It’s good to know that there are also different ways of sourcing talent: buying talent, building talent and borrowing talent. Make sure you understand which one applies to you.

In the case of buying talent, the recruiters expect you to have most of all the required skills and experience. In the case of building talent, the recruiters are aware that they will need to invest in you, so they do not expect you to have it all yet. They do expect you, however, to have basic strengths and skills that match the position, and the ability to learn. 

When it comes to borrowing talent, recruiters often hire consultants or ad-interims - people who have lots of experience in certain areas and who are ready to “plug and play”.

Stand out!

The final tip: Be ready to stand out! Especially when the competition is tough. For example, shoot a video message and send it to the recruiter, or prepare a presentation showing how you would solve some of the company’s issues.

What was the most surprising or handiest tip for you? Share in the comments below!

Dorota Klop-Sowinska


Dorota Klop-Sowinska

Official Member of Forbes Coaches Council. I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am the author of the book Career Jump! How to Successfully Change Your Professional Path...

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