Unusual Ways to Catch a Recruiter's Eye

In November, I told you how to find recruiters. That article talked about ways in which you can meet corporate recruiters. But just as there's more than one way to skin a cat, recruiters definitely look for talent in more than one place. I teach my recruiters to look for talent at sources that offer high quality, low competition, and affordability. Some of the sources mentioned in this article may seem a bit unusual to you at first glance, but recruiters know they are looking for 'diamonds in the rough'--and they learn that those are not always found where everyone else is looking.

There are three unusual spots from which you can begin a new path toward a job in industry. The first is a common source, but not one that is regularly used by all candidates. The next two involve contacts that interface with corporations on a regular basis. Recruiters go to these contacts for candidates, but these latter two paths can also help you uncover hidden job opportunities.

Diversity Is for Everyone

Insider's Tip #1: Don't overlook posting your resume on diversity Web sites.

It is generally known that recruiters access diversity Web sites and organizations in search of diverse candidates. And certainly, if you are a minority or a woman, you should be making use of these sources. But, some job seekers do not realize that most of these sites and organizations are open to all, regardless of ethnic background, gender, etc. Although this approach may seem a little controversial, recruiters are looking for the best-qualified talent regardless of where they find it. This means that you have an opportunity to get your resume on these Web sites and have your credentials reviewed by corporate recruiters. There is an element of risk with this approach, in that a recruiter might feel that they are getting duped when they find you do not fit the diversity category they are looking for. So I recommend being up front; do not appear to be something you are not. If your resume matches the key technical and achievement elements they are searching for, recruiters will contact you anyway, and that is when you need to convince them you are worth taking to the next step--an interview.

Most diversity organizations welcome all candidates, rather than restricting their sites to a particular group. An example of this openness is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). Their Web site, www.aises.org, says "membership is open to everyone who wishes to participate in the AISES family and programs." AISES has two categories of membership that highlight the organization's inclusive rather than exclusive approach. Their "general membership" category is for American Indians with bachelor's or advanced technical degrees. But, they also have a "special membership" category, which is open to those who do not meet the general membership criteria. In other words, they accept all others open to participating in their programs, including resume and job posting.

Other sites and organizations follow a similar approach. Web sites such as www.IMDiversity, www.diversityinc.com, and www.hirediversity.com do not screen candidates who wish to post their resume on the site. Even Web sites such as www.saludos.com, a Hispanic American focused site, does not screen candidates posting their resumes.

Use Technology Transfer for Job Opportunities

Insider's Tip #2: Meet your university's technology-transfer representative.

At many universities there is a technology-transfer manager or an entire department responsible for technology transfer. Their role is to function as a conduit for academic technology transfer to the commercial and industrial environment. They learn about the research being done in the university labs and then they identify and work with companies that might have an interest in the research or its potential commercial outcome.

The university technology-transfer representative is in contact with company representatives, including managers, human resource professionals, and other individuals who hire technical talent. Recruiters who have worked for me have found the technology-transfer representative to be a very good source of information with leads to the kind of professionals they are seeking. After we develop a relationship with a technology-transfer manager, it is not unusual for them to refer candidates directly to our recruiters.

You can look at your university Web site to see if your university has a technology-transfer department. Another good source of this information is through the Association of University Technology Managers' Web site at www.autm.net. Most technology-transfer representatives welcome the opportunity to put you in touch with recruiters. The added value to you is that the technology-transfer manager can recommend companies that are looking for someone working in your chosen specialty.

Once you locate your university's technology-transfer representative, schedule an appointment to meet with him or her. Share your technical background and the areas you want to work in. Ask them to provide contacts at companies that match what you are looking for. Remember to offer to keep in contact, so that when you accept a job, you may be able to help the technology-transfer representative.

Corporate Relations Can Help You Relate to a Job

Insider's Tip #3: Your university's corporate relations unit can help you.

Another unusual, but productive, source that recruiters use to find talent is a university's corporate relations department. Most universities have a function that is responsible for relations with companies and foundations. They are not as focused on technology as the technology-transfer office, but rather have a broader charter. For instance, they often tap these corporate sources for fundraising and grants. At several companies, when I was responsible for college recruiting, the university's corporate relations representative often contacted me. We would usually begin the relationship around funding a grant for one of the technical departments or contributing to a department's scholarship fundraising. Our recruiters found that this contact could quickly put us in touch with faculty and students who were working in areas of interest to our company.

Schedule an appointment and meet with your university's corporate relations representative. Similar to meeting with the technology-transfer representative, you should share your technical background and interests. She or he can refer you to contacts at companies who might be trying to fill the type of job you are looking for. Also, as with the technology-transfer department, you should offer to maintain contact with the corporate relations department after you take a new job. This benefits them by having an alumni contact in industry and can benefit you by being able to give back to your alma mater without having to write a check! Who knows, it may even help you in future job searches.

Strange But True

Although these sources of jobs may seem peculiar, they are tried and they are true. Company recruiters go to these three sources to look for the best-qualified talent. And although they may go with the additional objective of identifying diversity candidates, they will be happy to find people with the qualifications they're looking for, regardless of their ethnicity or gender. Now that you know about these unusual sources, you will have the Insider's Edge to using them to land a job.

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