Recruiters can be amazing resources for getting you work—but they’ll only be great resources for you if you’re a great resource for them. After all, they work for the companies looking for copywriters, not the other way around. So how do you attract a recruiters’ attentions and get them interested? Read on…
Today’s question is from Tony R., who asks, “I’d like to start working with recruiters to get work. I’ve reached out to one or two and haven’t heard back, so I wanted to check in with you before I keep going. What are recruiters looking for?”
As I said above, recruiters can be a great resource. However, the mistake a lot of people make is thinking that recruiters are in business for them. That’s not the case.
Recruiters are hired by companies to find job candidates, and they get paid when the company hires one of the recruiters’ candidates. So a recruiter has an incentive to find and maintain a stable of a ton of different job candidates, but they’re only going to send the very best along to a company.
Why will they only send a few? Remember that the recruiter is providing a service. If they send through a ton of candidates, some exactly what the company wants and some not quite right or even downright unqualified, the company will think the recruiter doesn’t know what they’re doing. The recruiter doesn’t want to lose that job, so he’s only going to send through the best candidates he can find.
So what makes you a good candidate? Well, the first element is somewhat out of your control. If a company has requested copywriters with healthcare experience and you don’t have any healthcare experience, the recruiter won’t pass your info along.
That said, let this be a gentle reminder to try to get experience in a variety of different fields. The more experience you have in several fields, the better the chance that you’ll have the kind of experience a company is looking for. (Don’t fall into the niche trap.)
After that, though, things are very much up to you. A recruiter is going to be looking for a well-rounded, professional looking portfolio with solid samples that prove your copywriting skills.
Even if all, or nearly all, of your samples are spec ads, they still need to be the absolute best you can create, and your online and offline portfolios need to look well put-together, modern, and professional.
A recruiter will want a resume. As I’ve said before, you can often get away with sending along a selected credits resume. But whether you send that or a standard resume, it needs to look professional, sound great, and be entirely error-free. You’re a writer!
Finally, a recruiter wants to work with candidates who are hyper-responsive.
Often they’re working to fill positions as quickly as possible, and they’re getting in touch with a lot of candidates. The best candidates will respond to their calls and emails quickly and be ready to send along updated portfolio links and resumes at a moment’s notice.
Remember, too, that recruiters are often dealing with a long list of potential candidates for any number of jobs. The truth is that a lot of recruiters just aren’t very good at staying on top of all of that.
To be a better candidate for both the recruiter and yourself, be persistent. Don’t give up after one phone call or one email. If they can’t use you, they’ll tell you. But if you don’t hear from them, keep trying. After all, if you won’t be an advocate for yourself, how can you expect them to be?
Your turn! How have your experiences with recruiters turned out? Let us know in the comments below!