You’ve been a consultant for a few years. Perhaps you intend to make a career of management consulting or eventually move to other roles. It’s time to begin building relationships with recruiters who will be able to help you with your career. Do it now, don’t wait until you’re looking for your next role. Here are a few points to consider regarding building those relationships.
Through online research, talking with professional acquaintances, and other sources, identify recruiters who focus on the roles or industry that you’re interested in. You will find boutique search firms with the right focus as well as individual recruiters at large recruiting firms.
Contact the recruiters you’ve identified. The best way is to email them an introduction and attach a resume. Mention that you’ve identified them because of a particular focus and you’re interested in initiating a relationship. Those that you’ll want to get to know will respond and will suggest a brief introductory call.
Be prepared to answer questions on the call about your interests, preferred future roles, industries, and locations. You should ask questions to qualify the recruiter. Ask what they focus on. Ask about clients they’ve worked with and positions they’ve filled. Ask what they see as logical next roles for you. You want to determine if this recruiter is one you want to maintain a relationship with.
Plan to make contact annually with an updated resume and a quick call to catch-up on key accomplishments in the past year and any changes in your career interests. Make it easy for the recruiter to know when a role might be right for you.
When the recruiter contacts you about a search they’re conducting, be honest about your level of interest and your strengths and weaknesses relative to the roles requirements. Be open to revising your resume to strengthen it for this specific opportunity. If you and the recruiter agree that it makes sense to present you as a candidate to the client, keep the recruiter informed of activities in the interview process and use the recruiter’s knowledge of the client to help you prepare for each interview.
If the recruiter contacts you about a role you’re not interested in, help them with the search. This includes providing referrals of course. It also includes telling the recruiter your opinion of the role and the client. This helps them become more effective in presenting the opportunity. Stick to referring individuals you know are highly qualified for the role, not people you know are looking for a new job.
Having relationships with a few well-chosen recruiters will provide you with a source of information on the job market as well as ensuring that you’re contacted about interesting opportunities.