Anyone who's a creative talent is a hot commodity in the in-house agency world today. That goes double for viable talent who happen to be looking for a new opportunity. Recruiters are probably knocking down their doors. As a result of a phenomenally healthy job market, coupled with the advance of sourcing and screening technology, the entire hiring process has evolved fast and furiously to meet the demands of both talent and clients. For example, there's been a shift in priorities within the recruitment function. Not that long ago, the sole focus was placed on pleasing the client. Now recruiters are becoming more assertive in encouraging their client partners to meet the demands of an ever-shrinking (and sometimes unattainable) talent pool. Potential employers have responded with initiatives such as cultivating a more attractive company culture, offering flexible work schedules and even making the hiring experience more enjoyable and accommodating for would-be new staff.

This type of employment market can be both good and challenging for job seekers. They haven't had to work as hard, if at all, at job searching lately. From the moment a job hunter declares their openness to new opportunities, they're likely being contacted by recruiters claiming to have the next great position for them. But many of those opportunities seem to end up as dead ends. Other hopefuls are being hounded by the wrong recruiters touting ill-fitting matches. Or they're looking for just the right slot in all the wrong places. Any number of factors could be slowing down a qualified talent's job quest. For everyone who shares the same dilemma, here are a few secrets to accelerate and streamline the search process.

Polishing Up Online Presence
To attract the right opportunity, you need to consider your online presence. About 95% of recruiters are utilizing LinkedIn as a major sourcing tool. And 100% of recruiters are searching online across all job boards. A fully functional online presence will help job seekers attract interest. All online profiles should be kept accurate and up to date. The amount of information posted (such as phone number, email address and link to an online resume) depends on the comfort level of the individual. Whatever you provide can expedite the time it will take for a recruiter to connect. Making a current resume available will help to ensure that recruiters contact you with appropriate opportunities. They don't want to waste anyone's time; it's fruitless for them to connect a potential job applicant to an opportunity that might have been appropriate five years ago (when the talent last logged in to CareerBuilder). And yes, recruiters are on CareerBuilder, too!

Maintaining uniformity across all online job search platforms is essential. An online profile should include a professional photo--not a selfie--and most importantly, an elevator pitch written in third person. Included with a cover letter, that brief summary allows the recruiter to gather all materials to get before an employer at lightning speed. The important point for the job seeker is to have all the materials ready for the recruiter's and client's eyes. The time it takes to update a resume and craft a timely elevator pitch after the recruiter calls will leave open a window of opportunity for another talent to snag that dream job.

Job experience should be written with the job opening in mind. Writers or editors are allowed absolutely no mistakes in a resume. Designers should make their online portfolio as clean and functional as their work. Broken links or a profile that looks outdated can distract a client from actually seeing the work. It's sort of like slapping a Picasso painting on an abandoned building. How the work is framed and displayed makes all the difference.

Checking Emails and Other Communication
It's important for job searchers to check all means of communication on a daily basis. Emails, voicemail, job board postings are all included. For passive job searching, checks should be made at least 2 times per week. Recruiters will try to reach potential candidates by any means necessary. Regularly responding to messages will help the process along.

Networking with recruiters is incredibly important, even for talent not currently on the hunt for their next move. Accepting messages and connections from recruiters will build professional relationships for the future. One's personal and/or professional life can look very different in one year's time. People who connect with professionals today--making others aware of them, and their long- and short-term goals--can be valuable down the line when a great position is waiting to be filled.

Knowing What the Work is Worth
Any job search should begin with a clear understanding of the salary or rates that can be expected. This calls for researching the market's going rates for work of interest. Professional freelancers should have a realistic idea of the compensation package they can command based on their skill sets, the contract duration, the estimated hours involved, etc. Typically, freelancers generate their own work. Depending on the client(s), their arrangements may involve unpredictable or sporadic hours, with occasional lag times between assignments--all of which might be cause for a freelancing rate to become inflated. A long-term contract for 20 hours of work per week, which may go full-time, might deflate the freelancer's customary hourly rate, since constant work is assured for a specific time.

Any creative talent considering a contract or full-time position should consider all of their compensation needs when settling the question of payment. Requirements such as health benefits, a flexible or remote work schedule, opportunities for advancement, and more, can all have an impact on the outcome of an employee's total compensation. Added benefits can often offset commute costs or provide insurance coverage that otherwise may not be accessible. Plus, compromising on a certain rate in exchange for a positive company culture and advancement opportunities, etc. might lead to career growth and the possibility of rate increases in the future. Taking a position at a slightly lower rate may be a foot-in-the-door entry to a very elusive industry (think pharmaceuticals or oil and gas), setting the stage now for becoming a senior-level project manager and climbing up the org chart later on. There may be times when a salary set back is just a setup for something greater.

Being Honest About the Job Search
The role of a recruiter is to make the interview and hiring process easier, quicker and more enjoyable for both talent and clients alike. Part of these responsibilities is advocating for the talent. The best recruiters assume that every job-seeker is actively engaged in multiple employment conversations, and likely scheduling new and more exciting interviews every day; it's expected. Creative talent want their recruiter to be open with them and provide honest, accurate feedback throughout the interview process. Recruiters, in turn, rely on the talent's candid feedback and status updates. After an interview, applicants should notify the recruiter if a few days have passed with no word from the prospective employer, if positive feedback is being received from another possible employer, or if a counter-offer might be in the works. While a recruiter ultimately has no control over the speed of their client's selection process, they still may be able to nudge a decision along in the right direction, if necessary. Sometimes,letting a prospective employer know that an applicant could soon be off the market might prompt an offer--or free up the applicant to accept another position. Honest communication is key. The success of a job-seeker/recruiter relationship depends on it. And it works to everyone's advantage.

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