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If you are looking for a new job or contract opportunity and thought a recruiter may be able to help you out, here are three basic tips to get you started.

Get Your Foot in the Door - The best way to get noticed by a recruiter is by getting a referral from a networking contact or acquaintance in your industry. Cold calling an agency to meet directly may not give you the results you want. Have your referral call the recruiter or shoot them an email. Or send the email yourself and let them know who referred you. If you’re new to the area and don’t know anyone, join an organization within your industry to meet people. Most savvy recruiters will pay particular attention to newcomers. They want the opportunity to represent new talent before their competitors have the chance to.

Answer Your Phone - What is the best way to get your name on your recruiting agency’s short list? Aside from having a killer resume, how you handle the call from your recruiter is of utmost importance. Definitely answer the call or return the call as soon possible. Recruiters are busy and want to get a great candidate presented to a client immediately.

When your recruiter tells you about the position, listen carefully and take notes. If the position isn’t a fit with your skills, share the names of contacts from your network to help them track down the right candidate. Many agencies will pay you for successful referrals. In return, your recruiter will continue to focus on how your skills and experience could be a good fit for the right client. Working with a recruiter is a two-way street. Taking time to build rapport with a recruiter will pay off in the long haul.

Follow Up - Staying on the top of your recruiter’s mind ensures that you are one of the first people they think of when a job or project request comes in. Call or email your recruiter to check in at regular intervals; every couple weeks or at least once a month. Many times a candidate will wonder why they interviewed at an agency and never heard from them again. The more engaged you are with your recruiter, the better chance you have of getting called for work. Continually update your resume and let your recruiter know about it. Your new experience or software knowledge may be just what the next client is looking for.

Don’t give up and stay in touch with your recruiter!

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