Help them help you

Job search advice from expert recruiters
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culture@sfbg.com

Following the tornado of cutbacks and downsizing that ripped through the Bay Area, the job market has finally regained its footing, which is great news for all kinds of people, from recent grads to employees unsatisfied with their current jobs. But you don't have to go it alone.

We've asked some of the Bay Area's experts on job searching — recruiters — to guide those seeking gainful employment. Since these are the people who sell job seekers to potential employers on a daily basis, we figure who better to provide valuable insight about landing that dream job (or dream income)?

Our panel of experts: Linda Carlton, president and CEO of FinanceStaff, a recruiting resource for accounting and finance professionals in Northern California; Daniel Morris, director of staffing at Trulia, a real estate search engine poised to double in size within the next year; and Madison Badertscher, an independent recruiter currently placing engineers and computer programmers in Silicon Valley.

And just in case you're worried about how the recruiting industry affects local job seekers, keep in mind that the demand for skilled employees is so high — especially in fields such as engineering, finance, and graphic design — that recruiters are forced to look outside the Bay Area in order to find them. This means recruiters typically aren't threatening local job seekers (though Morris points out there are certainly people who would disagree). Furthermore, recruiters say, the global perspective that international candidates tend to bring to Bay Area–based positions is often a weighty plus.

The general consensus is that the Bay Area job market is enjoying a renewed vigor. The jobs are out there and the conduits to them are many and varied. There is simply nothing to lose by taking advantage of the myriad recruiting resources available to you, whether you are just entering the workforce or still searching for the perfect job. So use this advice, and then go get 'em:

GO ONLINE

As you might've guessed, the Internet is a great place to start your search — and from the looks of top job boards such as Monster.com, HotJobs.com, and Craigslist.org, all kinds of companies are hiring. But don't hesitate to post your résumé online as well — contrary to the popular belief that you'll just get lost in the shuffle, recruiters say this is the first place they look when trying to fill a position.

Carlton says she starts here because it's where the most eager candidates tend to post their résumés. Morris agrees, pointing out that it's the best place to cast a wide net.

WRITE A RESUMESSAY

Keep in mind, though, that your résumé is the only way you're representing yourself on these job boards. So make sure you've put your best foot forward. Carlton recommends thinking of your résumé as an essay. Employers will make inferences from what they see, she says. Anything that could potentially look bad, such as a series of short-term jobs, should be given due explanation. Morris says previous successes should be quantified in a strong résumé. Sales accomplishments, for example, should be listed in quantifiable terms.

If you don't have tons of experience, though, don't fret. You might get just as far emphasizing how passionate you are about the potential job. Morris, for example, looks to staff Trulia with employees who have a history of doing more than is expected of them. And though Badertscher says education and relevant experience are important, she points out that credentials can be secondary to a strong willingness to learn.

BEFRIEND A RECRUITER

Job applicants who know exactly where they want to work and what they want to do are often best off aligning themselves with in-house recruiters, who frequently develop close relationships with the hiring staff at their companies.

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