Keep Recruiter Relationships Going Post-Graduation -Even If You've Secured An Internship

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When you begin a summer internship at one bank, don't relinquish your relationships with recruiters at other institutions. That's one of the pieces of job-searching advice you'll find in Six Steps to Job Search Success, a new online textbook from the founders of New York career coach SixFigureStart.

The book, published by Flatworld Knowledge, contains 12 chapters with titles like "Master the Interview," "How to Negotiate and Close Your Offer," "Create a Compelling Marketing Campaign-Part 1: Resume" and "Social Media and the Job Search." It can be read for free online or downloaded for $35.

While designed to speak to undergraduate students, all job seekers can benefit, including graduate students and "experienced professionals," explains Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, co-founder of SixFigureStart. Her career has included work at Merrill Lynch and Citigroup. Most recently, Thanasoulis-Cerrachio was the chief operating officer for Merrill Lynch Campus Recruiting.

One of the sections in the book, co-authored by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, another former recruiter, is titled "Network Effectively." It suggests that job seekers build the relationship with company recruiters before they need anything.

"Strong candidates cultivate good relationships with recruiters when they are not looking for a job so that they can get help when they are," a partner at an executive search firm explains.

"I had a candidate looking last summer," says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. "He had five banks courting him. He took a summer internship with one of them but he kept in touch with recruiters courting him at the other banks, and as it turns out, his summer employer didn't give him an offer." Financial services firms offer jobs to 80 to 90 percent of their summer interns, says the career coach, so clearly there are some candidates who won't make it that far.

The candidate Thanasoulis-Cerrachio describes here is "in a good spot," however, because he kept in touch with the other recruiters. "Throughout the summer, he sent them at least two e-mails each," observes the career coach.

One recruiter he was in touch with shared his love of cars so the candidate sent him an article about that over the summer. In another case, he thanked the recruiter for some good advice the recruiter had imparted. "He was savvy enough to keep those ties going," says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. So today he stands a good chance of landing a position elsewhere.

"Maintaining relationships throughout the process is important," she adds. "Networking allows you to meet a lot of people when they come on campus. The hard part is staying in touch afterwards."

Another piece of advice when it comes to maintaining recruiter relationships: Remember that being helpful is a two-way street.

The book quotes Sarah Grayson, a founding partner of On-Ramps, an executive search for the social sector, who advises, "It's always impressive to me when candidates refer us other strong candidates and go out of their way to stay in touch... It shows me that they know how to network and value relationships."

"A lot of students don't think they've got anything to offer," notes Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. But if you have a relationship with a recruiter, you're in a position to make a referral of a friend or business associate with good credentials. "Recruiters appreciate such recommendations, as it makes their job a lot easier," says the career coach. "If someone tells me in my pile of 100 resumes [that one] belongs to a talented peer, I'll put that resume on top and give it more air time."