How to make recruiters like you

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You may not like recruiters. You may think that they are like estate agents or journalists. You may even accuse them of being parasites. But if you want a new job, it's counterproductive to antagonize them and productive to get them on your side. Here's how to do it:

· Put yourself in their shoes

All the recruiters we spoke to would like to point out that they make their money by placing candidates. If they don't place anyone, they won't get paid. If they think you are a strong candidate they will therefore be nice to you. If they don't think you're a strong candidate, don't blame them for passing you over.

"Don't take it personally," says the head of one financial services recruitment boutique. "Remember that we need to be viewed as useful and essential by the client and therefore we can only put forward candidates matching the job description and who are of a higher calibre than the client is able to source directly."

· Spell out what you have to offer

Most recruiters receive hundreds of CVs a week. They don't have time to read them all in detail. Therefore, if you're applying for a job use the covering letter to spell out precisely why you're a good fit.

"I am at the buzz word-driven end of a buzz word-driven industry," says one recruiter. "You need to make it very obvious that you are suited to the role. For example, just because you've worked with credit derivatives, I do now know that you can do copulas."

· Don't expect them to pay for everything

Recruiters will often suggest a meeting in a coffee shop. You may feel they should pay for anything you consume, but you will endear yourself better if you volunteer to pick up the tab.

"When a candidate offers to pay, it makes me feel that they have got some value from the meeting," says one recruiter.

· Regularly update your CV

This is not so much about getting recruiters to like you as getting their computer systems to like you.

"Most CVs are entered into computer systems and most of these systems operate using a combination of recentness and relevancy," says a recruiter. "If you make a small change and send it through to us again, it will move to the top of the queue."

· Find someone to refer you

On the whole, recruiters will like you more if you are referred by someone they respect (preferably a client). This does not always hold true, however.

"People who are referred are often a bit needy. You have to ask why they didn't come through directly," says a recruiter.

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