- Step one: get noticed.
- Step two: get an interview. Understand how the recruiter wants to keep in contact (text, email, voice etc).
- Step three: work to get those roles.
- Step four: maintain the relationship for the future.
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Recruiters often get engaged in discussions with professionals new to the independent contracting space and looking for advice about how to get started. Many of them observe that getting the attention of agencies is tough and some believe that the whole concept of good and basic manners has been thrown out by some in this business.
They are, of course, right about getting the attention of an agency and, while we won't make excuses for poor behavior in our industry, we can try to give some insight into why this is the case.
Think of the agencies as your clients and you are selling us on your qualifications and candidacy for a job with our clients. It is important whenever you are selling anything to understand, as much as possible, what it is like to walk in the shoes of the person you are selling to. The more you can understand about their pain, their needs, and their wishes, then the better chance you have of aligning your product/service to the opportunity.
So, what is it like inside an agency? We get literally thousands of resumes every month but only tens of opportunities in a good month. So a very small percentage of people who apply to any agency will actually get a job, and the agencies get more jobs than most employers.
Furthermore, the recruiters within agencies will always work with those people that they are most comfortable submitting. They likely won't (shouldn't) submit someone that they haven't met.
Now don't get discouraged that's the tough side of the equation.
So breaking it down, you need to get noticed. Then you need to get an interview with the agency. Then you need to be top of mind for a current opportunity that is a good fit for you.
Recruiters, like most people, love it when people make life easy for them. So if you can let them know that (1) Opportunity A looks like a great fit for these 3 or 4 good reasons, and (2) by the way, they know you and (3) you gave them your reference information and (4) if needed you can customize your resume (truthfully not embellishment) to fit the position, then you will probably get a call.
In summary, how can you get the attention of an agency?