Do you know where your resume is going after you hit send? Many advertised law positions on job boards and employment websites are posted by legal recruiters. When you respond to a post by sending your resume, are you unwittingly broadcasting your resume to the market?
Many employers accept resumes from legal recruiters for open searches because they wish to tap into recruiters’ vast talent pools and streamline their own recruiting efforts by obtaining properly vetted candidates. However, employers avoid conflicts between recruiters like the plague. Most recruiting contracts with employers state clearly that only the recruiter who first submits a candidate is entitled to a fee. Accordingly, an unscrupulous recruiter who randomly forwards your resume throughout the market establishes priority to your career search whether or not they possess the ability and relationships to advance your career. Furthermore, reputable recruiters are then precluded from working with you for up to a year.
So, what steps should you take to protect your resume and career search?
- Determine whether the position to which you are applying was posted directly by an employer or by a recruiter. Recruiter posts generally will not name the client company or firm and will typically start with vague identifying language such as “Fortune 500 Company” or “Our client, a global, full-service law firm”.
- For recruiter posted positions, try calling the recruiter first or email a confidential summary of your qualifications, leaving out identifying information. For example: “I am a 2014 class year litigation associate at an Am Law 100 law firm. I received my J.D., cum laude, from a top twenty law school.” If your qualifications align with the requirements of the search you will get contacted by the recruiter.
- Limit the authority you are granting the recruiter in writing. Once you engage a recruiter, expressly delineate where the recruiter has authority to submit your resume. That list can always be expanded as your comfort with your recruiter grows, but this leaves you protected should a different opportunity from another qualified recruiter come your way.