Are you looking for ways to maximise your job search? Are you frustrated with applying to countless open positions on online job sites or handing out numerous resumes and cover letters? Have you considered using recruitment agencies or external recruiters as part of your job hunt strategy? If so, here is how to use them best to your advantage.

A little disclaimer: Even if you are approaching recruiters or recruiting agencies, you will still need to have an excellent professional resume and cover letter customized to the job requirement.

1. First of all, the recruiting agency is working for an employer and not for the job seeker. No matter how friendly the recruiter might seem they will only forward your resume for a position only if they think that your resume is creme de la creme of the resumes for the position. Even though they might go out of their way to help you out, they have their own reputation to preserve.

2. Recruiting agencies and the recruiters are not career guidance counselors. You have to be clear about what direction you want your career to take. You have to explain to your recruiters the kind of positions you are interested in. Of course, there will always be a few people who might try to push you into positions that are not appealing or suitable.

3. Make yourself findable. Every recruiter is only as good as the connections they build and nurture over the years. This the first place they go to find appropriate candidates for any assignment they get. Update your profile on platforms like LinkedIn. Recruiters are constantly searching for good profiles and reaching out to candidates through InMail messages. Recruiters also attend networking, alumni and professional events to meet both clients and potential candidates.

4. Find a recruiter who specializes in your specific industry or experience or skill set. Recruiters specialize in location, industry, profession, job function or a combination. They are likely to get more interviews for positions or companies that you want to work for. It is beneficial to work with multiple recruiters at the same time but you don’t want to have more than 2-3 submitting your résumé to the same company.

5. Build a professional, open and transparent relationship with the recruiter. Approach them as if you are interviewing with them. Be open about your skill sets and the kind of role that will make sense for you going forward. If you are currently unemployed, be ready to explain why.

6. Be honest with your recruiter about any information that will come out during an interview or background check. Also, be upfront about your compensation expectations. Answer all questions from the recruiter accurately. The more information the recruiter has about you the easier it is for them to place you with the right job opening. If you have any talented friends or co-workers, refer them to your recruiter. This will help them out and build a good relationship between you and the recruiter.

7. Be patient and follow-up. Don’t take it personally if they are not getting back to you. Stay in touch with them via email or by phone every few weeks to keep them updated on your search. Be open about the interviews that you are taking. But make sure you are not pestering by following up too frequently.

8. Discuss with the recruiter and review any interview that you get through them as soon as the interview is over. If you did not get a job offer after the interview process, ask the recruiter for reasons so you can avoid them in the future. In most cases, the recruiter will have feedback from the company. If you land a job through a recruiter, be sure to send them a thank you.

Finally, never rely solely on recruiters. While making recruiters a part of your job search strategy, you need to actively pursue job search in all ways possible to maximise your chances of landing a job. All the very best!