Dear Matt: I have friends who get contacted by recruiters, but it never happens to me. How do I find recruiters or build relationships with them?

Matt says: Developing relationships with recruiters is a great way to network. Any time you can connect with people who hire and are aware of open jobs, you should take advantage of it. You don’t have to be looking for a job either. One recruiter told me it’s good to start developing a relationship with recruiters even if you aren’t looking; that way you can both understand the best way to work together now or in the future.

There are a couple of different kinds of recruiters. An agency recruiter works with the company that hired them to fill temporary, contract, direct hire and full-time roles. Corporate recruiters work internally at an organization, such as at a large company like General Mills. In either case, building relationships with both groups is essential in performing an effective job search, says Lisa Frame Jacobson, Director of Recruiting with STAR Collaborative (, a professional staffing and placement firm with contract/consulting and full-time, direct hire roles for a wide range of professions and industries.

To do that, leverage the power of Google, Bing and LinkedIn. Through these tools you can search for recruiters using key terms such as “sales recruiting firms Minnesota” or “IT recruiting firms Minneapolis” to start researching companies that might be a fit. On LinkedIn you can use a variety of search terms related to your industry/field to find companies, groups and individuals you want to connect with. When contacting individuals, be open about your reasons for connecting with them.

“Briefly describe your background and that you would like to get their help in getting introduced to their organization and be considered for current or future roles,” says Frame Jacobson. “Ask for their preferences on how you should communicate with them, including frequency, and how to gain access to see new roles as they are posted.”

Action is picking up and recruiters are busy, but they always want to hear from qualified candidates. The key, though, is to be patient. If you don’t hear back right away, don’t assume you are not someone they want to get to know.

“Remember that recruiters are hearing from candidates all of the time, in addition to those that apply directly on their site,” Frame Jacobson said. “While a dedicated recruiter will often respond to your inquiries, be cognizant of the fact that they are juggling many needs and candidates.”

Make sure your LinkedIn profile and résumé are updated. Recruiters will want to view these at some point. However, just connecting on LinkedIn is a great start.

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