Friday, May 18, 2012

Navigating recruiter relationships

Because I am not a naturally socially savvy person, learning to navigate the new cultural worlds of business and recruiters have given me some chances to reflect on how I do interact with people.  I'll share a few of these here.

There is plenty of advice that if you are working with a recruiter, you should ping them every week or so to stay relevant.  If you stop, they assume you found a job and don't bug you.  I've let plenty of recruiters come and go out of my life.  Since most of them never sounded like they would have much to offer a Ph.D. with no work experience, I let those relationships wither quickly- and guess what? They never got me a job.  This time around, I am trying harder to build a relationship and be remembered, and do it with brevity.  (Of course, this is easier to do when you are working with someone who will return your calls or emails- distinguishing which relationships to cultivate is a topic for another day).

I was sending out several of these pings this morning (I updated my resume to include being finished with my PM class).  This afternoon, I had a meeting at the recruiting office of one of these people (to talk to someone else), and she was of course surprised to see me.  She ended up introducing me to another person who might be in a better position to get me a contract position, and as I was leaving for the day she said, "Next time, let me know before you come down here.  That way I can get you set up to meet more people."  Oh.... that's actually the third time I've been in the office.  New rule of thumb, when you go into an office where you know some people- go say hi to every single person you know.

I went to an AWIS event last night on work-life balance (I'll be posting more on that and giving myself a pep talk later in the week), but one of the panelists said if you aren't comfortable going to network events, just network where you are.  Make conversation in the lunch room, and get around your department enough that you are well connected where you work.  Basically, build the relationships you have already. I'm having a much easier time building relationships through introductions than I have through those overwhelmingly loud and friendly networking events. 

There we go, some thoughts on networking and developing relationships in the arena of job hunting.  If any of these golden nuggets turn out to be the one that gets me my big break, well, you saw it here first.

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