By now you’ve probably looked up a few MSL jobs and maybe
applied to some these jobs. So we need to talk about 2 major steps in your job search process: working with recruiters and answering job ads (from recruiters or employers).
I’ve been asked several times whether networking with recruiters is a good idea. My answer is, “of course it’s a good idea… BUT.” Let me explain what’s behind the “BUT”.
One of the biggest frustrations experienced by aspiring MSLs is with recruiters. This is because recruiters want to talk to you only if they believe that there’s a good chance they can make money from what’s in your head (they’re called “headhunters” after all).
Companies are willing to pay recruiters tens of thousands of dollars
per bona fide hire because they believe that recruiters have the deep networks that the companies themselves may not already have.
What this means is that recruiters are often hired by companies to look for someone very specific.
This can mean a specific kind of MSL experience, or having a specific amount of MSL experience.
Companies know that they can put a job on the job boards or even their own company websites to get candidates with no MSL experience, and get a really good response rate: they don’t need to invest additional money going through a recruiter.
I see networking with recruiters as a useful practice for aspiring MSLs, but they shouldn’t be invested too much in the outcomes, or to take their treatment by the recruiters personally.
Too often people get their hopes up, especially recruiters are working on the employers’ behalf and are portraying the opportunity as a phenomenal job. But then they get hung up on in a hurry because recruiters realize that the candidate doesn’t have the specific experience of MSL tenure their client wants.
If you take this personally, then soon you will have a running list of people you think have snubbed you on purpose.
Trust me, they aren’t trying to be mean, they are trying to earn a living, like you and me 🙂
And honestly, most of them will not even remember who you are, because of the hundreds of people they speak with on a given month.
If you network with recruiters and see it as useful exercise, you will
have realistic expectations on what you can get out of any recruiter
This is why you need to heed what the MSL job ads say, by taking the requirements seriously.
If the job posting says “MSL experience a plus“ or “MSL experience preferred“ or even “MSL experience strongly preferred“, then it’s giving people without MSL experience a chance provided that the candidate meets all the other qualifications listed.
These would be the jobs that you immediately pay attention to, and put together your application package (customized cover letter and resume)!
When the job ad says “MSL EXPERIENCE REQUIRED”, the company issuing that ad means it.
Don’t send a resume and cover letter to the recruiter and then preface it with an email stating “I know the ad says experienced required but…”. Your email is likely to be deleted, and you’ve wasted your time, and the recruiter’s time, or the corporate staffing consultant’s time.
I’d rather you spend that time building up your cache of transferable skills and experiences that give the hiring manager strong evidence that you can do the MSL job even if you’ve never done it before.
To your success!