Recently, a new business administration student named Iris Edmond reached out to connect with Career Services via LinkedIn. In reviewing her profile, I noticed Iris had an extensive background in recruiting, so I asked her if she’d be willing to share her job search tips with our students and alumni for our blog. She kindly agreed.
I mentioned that our students often wonder why they don’t receive responses to job applications they submit. Iris stated that recruiting on the agency side is a metrics-driven activity. Recruiters are trying to collect as many resumes and potential candidates as possible. However, that said, the top way to get a job is still referrals and networking. In her opinion, 60% of hires come from referrals, as it’s too easy for resumes to fall into a “black hole.” Iris is a big LinkedIn user and fan – as she said, “Troll the groups.”
Iris also gave valuable advice for working with staffing agencies. She said their goal is “fill and bill” – if they can bill you out, they’ll take on trying to place you. For the best chance at success, build relationships with staffing agency recruiters. Don’t stop at submitting an online resume – instead, follow up with a phone call to verify they received your resume. If you’re lucky, they’ll sift through their resumes and talk over your qualifications with you – and perhaps you’ll be called in for an interview. Be friendly and build rapport and a positive relationship with them. Keep calling to check in with them – persistence pays off.
Iris has used some very creative strategies in building her own network. When offered a gift card by a hospital to make up for poor customer service she received, she stated, “I’m currently looking for a job, so if you could put me in touch with your head of HR, I’d much prefer that over the gift card.” Her “outside the box” approach landed her an excellent informational interview with the head of HR who said he would keep her in mind for available openings.
Finally, Iris advised job hunters to talk to everyone – store clerks, vendors, service folks, etc. – tell them you’re looking for work and ask how they got hired. Once again, it’s not just what you know, but who you know.
Thanks so much to Iris for sharing her tips with us and we wish her the best of luck in her new academic pursuits at Walden!
Written by Lisa Cook, Director of Career Services