Posted October 17, 2012 by

5 Best Practices for Job Seekers Looking for Next Career Opportunity

ExecuNet Editor-in-Chief Robyn GreenspanA recent survey asked top third party recruiters (also known as headhunters) to weigh-in on best practices to help job seekers find their next career opportunity. The data suggests that when submitting job applications, developing an online profile and networking with recruiters, there are some very clear do’s and don’ts.

  1. 70 percent of recruiters may pass over a résumé if it doesn’t include a cover letter. While some seasoned job seekers may think their résumé can stand on its own, recruiters want to see cover letters. “The purpose of the cover letter is to quickly encapsulate why you are qualified for the role, and to get someone interested enough to read your résumé,” says ExecuNet Editor-in-Chief Robyn Greenspan. “This research tells us that there are so many résumés vying for recruiters’ attention they are relying on a compelling cover letter to find great candidates.”
  2. The majority of recruiters recommend limiting work experience on a résumé to 15 to 20 years. More than half of the surveyed recruiters advise job seekers with more than 25 years of experience not to show all of it on their résumé. Personal situations may dictate otherwise, however, as Don Weintraub, ExecuNet’s Managing Director of Performance Improvement & Career Services, counsels, “I usually recommend showing the last three jobs or about 20 years, but if the job that was 20+ years ago really showcases your skills and accomplishments, then you should include that one too.”
  3. 62 percent of recruiters say it’s crucial to have a current, professional headshot on online profiles. There’s no denying age discrimination is an unwelcome reality for the 50+ year-old job seekers, but recruiters want to know what they see is what they get. With a previous ExecuNet study revealing that 90 percent of recruiters check out job seekers candidates online, you want to be sure that the picture they found of you is going to be a close match of who they meet in person.
  4. Job candidates should give a realistic range when asked about salary expectations. Surveyed recruiters strongly suggest resisting the temptation to ask for a dollar amount higher than really desired, with 46 percent recommending candidates give a range. Other recommendations include deferring your answer until after there is mutual interest and asking what the compensation range is for a high performer in the position. “Don’t be the first to bring it up,” says Weintraub. “A good answer is to report your most recent compensation and say that you’re looking for something competitive. Given the individual circumstances and the economy, the candidate may want to add that they’re willing to accept a fair rate based on current market conditions.”
  5. Job seekers who want to build relationships with recruiters should come bearing information. Only 1-in-4 recruiters would network with job seekers who can’t provide some reciprocal value. Recruiters are most receptive to networking with executives in transition who can share information about industries, companies, referrals or connections to key decision-makers.
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