Monday, February 22, 2010

Cover Letter Keys - Part Three – Letters to recruiters and head-hunters

Most recruiters and head-hunters specialize by industry or job type. For maximum effectiveness, target only head-hunters who specialize in your field. It is also to your advantage to ‘register’ with more than one recruiter*.

Since the best way to contact recruiters and head-hunters is through email, your letter will take the form of an e-mail note. This e-mail should be accompanied with your résumé in Word format. A brief cover letter (or note) is essential to make sure the recruiter opens and reads your resume before storing in an electronic resume storage database.

For best results make use of the following information:
  • It is important to keep the e-mail short. One or two paragraphs should suffice. Most recruiters are paid on commission and work under heavy production quotas—they don’t have the time or patience for lengthy letters of introduction.
  • Your note should read somewhat like a résumé summary statement full of key-word qualifications. An example might sound something like, “My background includes 15 years of VP-level management in the telecom industry specializing in start-up of new divisions and building consensus across departments.”
  • Do not end your note with a promise to call. The recruiter will call you when he/she has an available position. I have it on good authority that nothing annoys a recruiter more than unsolicited phone calls from job seekers. You need recruiters and head-hunters on your side. So, to get your relationship with recruiters off to the right start, let them contact you.

  • Working through head-hunters is a numbers game. The more qualified recruiters you contact the better your chances are of finding great job leads. Don’t minimize your efforts by contacting only those in your geographic area. Recruiters and head- hunters who specialize in a given industry usually work nationally and sometimes internationally. Investing in a résumé distribution service that allows you to target recruiters by specialty increases your efforts exponentially.

*N.B. you should NEVER have to pay a recruiter or head-hunter to help you get a job. Recruiters and head-hunters are paid by the employers who are looking for candidates.