I think one of the things that recruiters have lost sight of is just how emotionally gut-wrenching the modern job search has become. When I am working that side of the fence, I am as guilty as the next person in this regard – and I work with job-seekers every day, so I probably should be more sympathetic. But the sheer volume of incoming application can very quickly form callouses on even the most sensitive and decent recruiter.
Spelling mistakes, getting names or titles wrong, any sign of carelessness on your part as a job-hunter and like as not you’ll end up lining my bin. Making me search for your good points in interview? Short answers that fizzle out without really answering my question? Bye-bye! I have been trumpeting one simple message since I started in the career management business in the early 1990s – you have to make the recruiter’s life easier. Have to.

If that is true in a booming economy, it is true to the power of three in a down economy. The mistake that I see most job-hunters making right now is that they are going it alone. Jaws was a great movie [I just watched it over the weekend with my older daughter] and Steven Spielberg is an extraordinary film-maker; but the credits on that film run for quite a few minutes at the end. Biiiiiiiiiig team.

Who’s on your team? Who’s team are you on? Clearly, no-one wants to aid and abet the opposition. If you have a colleague who is going for the same job as you, you’re unlikely to want to share any hard-won knowledge with that colleague. But outside of that, you need a team and that means you need to be giving back too.

Who is your cinematographer? Who’s in charge of costume and grooming? Who’s reviewing the screenplay of your life and making helpful cuts to tighten up the story? Who’s assisting you on fact-checking and research? We all have busy lives and in many cases, we are hesitant to ask for this sort of help. So I say again – do it on a give-and-take basis; think of what role you can play on someone else’s team. What value can you bring to them?

I sort all my mother’s computer and technical problems and she advance-reads the New Yorker the Spectator and Fortune for me. She reads those magazines anyway and is happy to do it, but her Post-it notes and comments in the margin save me a lot of time.

Start sharing ideas and looking for input on job-hunting and your wooing techniques will become more effective – because remember, recruiters need love too.