How to Ace Your Job Hunt and Work with Recruiters: The Ultimate Guide

Over the years I have spoken with hundreds of people who need some general job hunting (and staying at a job!) advice. I started compiling some hints, tricks, tips, thoughts, aphorisms, maxims, adages, proverbs, truisms and the occasional soliloquies. After awhile, I stopped talking and started sending people a document. The document grew and grew. I am sharing it with you below.

I hope it will help with any job hunts you do and I also hope it will save you time with candidates. Take a read of my article and get back to me with any specific questions in the comments below.

(An important note, I have been using this so long I have no idea what is 100% mine, what I “borrowed” from elsewhere, and what I simply cut and pasted. So, if I used your work, MEA CULPA!)

Job searching is a full-time job:

You need to wake up early apply to every job you can find! Call companies and ask to speak to HR and don’t be shy. What is your search strategy? IMNSHO, leveraging connections is the best way. After that, what I do is set myself a goal of 10 resume sends a day. I email 5 to jobs that are posted, and 5 Pro-Active ones to HR Managers (Who I find via LinkedIN) of companies that I’d like to work for. I keep a spread sheet of everything, and do a follow-up call one week to the day later…


Every job you send your resume too is different. Why would you send the same resume to every job? Change your summary/objective to reflect the role you are applying for, and use the language of the job… Move bullets around to match what is important in the description. NEVER EVER LIE— But it is often not what you say, but how you say it. Job hunting is a series of hoops that all lead to an offer. The first hoop is getting an interview request based on your resume.


  1. Do your research before an interview – real research, understand the company and what your role is. If you go to an interview without knowing about the company, you’ll fail.
  2. Don’t go to an interview more than 15 minutes early – 5 minutes is perfect.
  3. If you’re late to an interview or work, call ahead. That will probably make it insignificant.
  4. Most managers interviewing are NOT professional interviewers. Memorize the job description and ask questions about the position early – gear your answers to that.
  5. Don’t mention kids, marriage, your gender or race. The EEOC scares everyone hiring, you don’t want them worried about making a decision about you because they now know this.
  6. Don’t forget it’s an interview. Stay professional, great interviewers will make you laugh and comfortable and don’t use any inappropriate language.

Working with agencies and recruiters:

By: ExecutiveSearch Toronto
  1. If you’re working and an agency says something is temp to hire, ask if they’ll hire you will they be continuing the job search? Has HR/finance approved the headcount/budget? Ask both the recruiter and the hiring manager this.
  2. Make sure if you use a staffing agency they call you before sending your résumé, especially if you use more than one.
  3. If a recruiter keeps trying to get you jobs out of your field, ditch them. You need to stay in your field.

General job hunting advice:

  1. Have a legitimate LinkedIn profile and connect with everyone!
  2. Stay working in your field. If you lose a job spend every waking moment applying and calling into your profession. Nothing hurts a job search more than time not working.
  3. Do not sound desperate, sound inquisitive, be receptive but question the company and if it is good enough for you. Don’t put the job on a pedestal.
  4. Don’t be late or miss any days of work in your first 180 days. Just don’t. It leaves a very sour taste in your manager’s mouth. It doesn’t matter how good the excuse is. Get sent home, don’t call out.
  5. Don’t ever send a mass thank you email.
  6. Set up job posting alerts on job sites. When you get an email that a job you’re interested in has been posted, stop at nothing to apply instantly.
  7. Pay your cell phone bill, don’t change your number and answer every call. A lot of recruiters don’t always call people back or play phone tag well (we kind of suck at that!)
  8. Leave a voicemail if you call someone and they don’t pick up. Speak slowly, keep it brief and leave your number.
  9. Don’t use slang. Don’t say ax instead of ask. Don’t say we was or we were. Ditch your accent and try to sound like Brian Williams or Barbara Walters.
  10. No weird piercings (ie: no nose or tongue rings), hair colors tattoos etc – be professional!
  11. Suit up. This is Non-Negotiable. If its retail or fast food, if they don’t hire you because you’re wearing a suit (it happens) you don’t want to work there, and you can find a good manager that wants you there.
  12. Unless you have a uniform or its explicitly stated to you, on your first day suit up. The next day you dress like the rest of your team.
  13. Don’t be one of the “cool kids”. Every company has a group of employees that are too cool to buy in to the company. They don’t want to hang out with their coworkers or follow rules. They like to ignore duties, complain and gossip. Don’t join them.
  14. Stroke egos. Don’t suck up, that’s annoying. Ask advice from managers, follow their advice.
  15. If you’re in college get an internship. Your degree is worthless without it.

Any other tips? Let us know in the comments!

By Jeffrey Newman

Jeff Newman a.k.a. The People's Recruiter, has been a Full Life Cycle IT Recruiter and Full Desk Placement expert for over 14 years. He prides himself on always making sure that what he is offering a candidate is an Opportunity and not just another job. He is a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Mobiquity. Watch Jeff live on stage: "Recruiters: The Good, The Bad, and the Devious."