Career Advice for the Smart Job Seeker

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10 Tips That Recruiters Really, Really Want Job Seekers to Know

10 Unconventional (But Cool!) Jobs to Inspire Your Career Pivot

Ever wondered what advice a hiring specialist would give if you had the opportunity to sit down with one? Well, consider this your backstage pass!

We shared some of your most-asked questions, and invited hiring managers, recruiters, and headhunters in all sorts of industries to give it to us straight.

From using AI to speed up your job applications through to what they’re really thinking when they see that Open to Work banner on your LinkedIn profile, we’ve got the inside scoop on their green flags and dealbreakers!

Your Questions Answered

#1 Can you tell if my cover letter is AI-generated?

“I’m a recruiter and in all honesty I don’t understand why cover letters are still a thing. I care even less if you’ve used AI. I usually go straight to the resume, because that tells me a lot more about you. A huge number of applications are poorly put together. So if I do look at the cover letter and guess it’s done with AI, I make a mental note that the person has actually made an extra effort to get it right.” Head of People, Online Travel Agency

#2 Why don’t agency recruiters tell you what the job is before the phone call?

“If we tell you the company beforehand, you’ll go and apply directly before we can submit you. If you apply before we submit you, then we have no ownership, don’t get paid, and can’t support you. Aside from that, companies usually come to recruiters when they have trouble filling the job themselves. There’s often a reason for that. Good recruiters pre-vet companies. They’ll ensure your details aren’t submitted to businesses with a poor reputation. They’ll make sure you’re put forward for good positions.” – Recruitment Consultant, Sales & Marketing

#3 If a hiring manager or recruiter asks, ““Have you applied anywhere else?”, is there any advantage to answering a particular way?

“As a recruiter I always appreciate when candidates mention if they’re currently involved in other processes. It just helps me prioritize them when it comes to interview timeslots and potentially speed up the process with the line manager.” – Internal Recruiter, Pharmaceutical Industry

#4 Why do I keep getting rejected for being ‘overqualified’?

“The general concern is that if you’re ‘too’ experienced, you’re more likely to get bored and leave sooner. And of course, the more experience you have, the more compensation you can ask for. So from the recruiter’s perspective, it’s easier to reject you than take a risk. If you’re applying to a job you have ‘too much’ experience for, a simple hack is to lop off some of your earlier experiences on your resume. It’s easier to get past the fear factor once you’re face-to-face in an interview.” – Talent Specialist, Retail Industry

#5 Is it a good idea to reach out to recruiters over LinkedIn?

“I’m a recruiter for a well-known company. I don’t mind at all if job seekers reach out to me, as long as their experience is relevant and they’re professional in their approach. If they don’t include a message with their connection request, I ignore it. I also ignore generic “Hey, I need a job!” messages. And like with anyone, I only have an issue when the individual is pushy and rude.” – Technical Recruitment Specialist, FMCG Industry

#6 Why don’t recruiters respond to candidates? Would they charge for feedback?

“When 1000+ people apply for a job and recruiters have 10-40 openings at a time, could you imagine how much time we’d lose if we offered feedback and called every single rejected candidate? It’s not a sign of inefficiency or lack of professionalism. It’s just not feasible, as much as we’d like to. And no, no legitimate recruiter will ever charge for feedback.” – Recruiter, Banking & Finance

#7 Recruiters, as a job seeker, what would you like me to do?

“Best piece of advice? Be a proper fit for the job. Seriously. We’re only trying to sell a product - you. The best way to do that is to have a good product. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are complete, specific, and reflect your accomplishments as well as your responsibilities.” – Recruitment Consultant, Accounting

#8 Do recruiters think less of people who have the green ‘Open to Work’ banner on their LinkedIn profile? I’ve heard it makes job seekers look desperate.

“Seriously, I’ve never heard of a recruiter getting upset or post publicly about someone having an Open to Work banner. Why would we? It helps us do our jobs faster because then we are easily able to figure out who is actually open to work immediately.” – Talent Coordinator, Video Game Company

#9: “How do you recruiters feel about a skills section at the top of the resume, under the summary?

“Frankly, we love it. It makes it easy to tell right away if you have the key skills I’m looking for. I don’t want to wate time looking through your resume, only to discover you’re not a great fit. A good skills section is a big plus for me.” – Senior Recruiter, Global eCommerce Platform

#10 “I see a lot of conflicting opinions about resumes being 1 page or 2 pages. What should it be?

“Honestly, if you’re a good fit, I don’t care. But the general rule is 1 page is best if you don’t have much experience. Tech roles that are reliant on specific skills sets rather than how much experience you have, can also be 1 page. If you have a bit of experience, let’s say 5 or 6 years plus, then 2 pages gives you enough space to share your story.” Hiring Specialist, Management Consultancy

So there you have it. Getting job application advice directly from recruiters offers valuable insights into the hiring process and employer expectations. Because they understand precisely what decision makers are looking for, their tips can significantly boost your chances of getting a foot in the interview door!

If you’d like to learn more about any aspect of finding a new job, hop on over to www.jobleads.com. As well as our cutting-edge global jobs platform, you’ll find a wealth of trainings, guides, video tips, and headhunter listings to elevate your job search today.

Key takeaways:

  • Recruiters prioritize resumes over cover letters but appreciate the effort when candidates use AI tools to craft them effectively
  • Recruiters withhold company names to maintain control over the application process and ensure candidates are suited for the position
  • Mentioning involvement in other job processes can help recruiters prioritize candidates and expedite the interview process
  • Hiring specialists may reject overqualified candidates due to concerns about retention and compensation demands, but trimming earlier experiences from resumes can mitigate this.
  • Reaching out to recruiters on LinkedIn is acceptable if done professionally and with relevant experience highlighted in the message.
  • Feedback can’t be provided to every rejected candidate due to time constraints (and no, no reputable recruiter would ever charge for feedback)
  • Complete, tailored resumes and LinkedIn profiles that highlight accomplishments and responsibilities are more likely to attract recruiters than generic, unfocused ones
  • Recruiters find Open to Work banners on LinkedIn helpful for identifying candidates actively seeking employment
  • Including a skills section on resumes helps hiring specialist to quickly assess suitability for the position
  • One-page resumes are great for less experienced candidates or roles emphasizing specific skill sets, while two-page resumes are great for candidates with more extensive experience.

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