True or False: The best time to work with recruiters is when you’re looking for a new job. If you said “false,” you’re ahead of the curve! The best time to work with recruiters is well before you start shopping for a new job. Consider these tips and tricks for how to make recruiters work for you while you sit back and focus on your job.

Why A Recruiter Is Your Friend

Recruiters can do more than find you an immediate job. They know their industries well and they can share insider information with you. Which skills are in demand? What certifications could strengthen your candidacy down the road? Recruiters can be partners as you plan for professional development.

There will be a day when you want to change jobs. If you wait until you are desperate for change, any job will look acceptable. You won’t have a clear head to weigh the benefits, challenges, and opportunities of new roles. Do yourself a favor: explore your options before that day comes. If an amazing opportunity lands on your lap while you already have a good job, you can make a balanced decision.

Choose Your Connections Wisely

If you are happily employed, keep the door open to recruiters but don’t throw yourself at every recruiter in sight. People will question your priorities if you always have one foot out the door. Let recruiters know that you aren’t actively looking for a job, but that you are willing to listen.

Remember that all recruiters are not created equal. If someone contacts you, do your research. How long have they been in the industry? What sorts of firms do they work for? This will help you to determine if the recruiter will be helpful to you.

Keep It Confidential And Courteous

A key to a successful partnership is confidentiality. Don’t take phone calls from your work office, and don’t use your work email for correspondence. Make your boundaries clear.

Once you are on a recruiter’s radar, they will keep you in mind when an amazing opportunity comes across their desk. Keep communication open by grabbing an occasional coffee. Always express appreciation for their interest. You want them to remember you and like you. You never know when they will present an opportunity you can’t pass up.