(Please read the whole thing before you get mad and click that X at the top right of the screen.)
Dear Technical Recruiter,
I would first like to thank you for contacting me about the position that you are trying to fill. I appreciate that you either found my resume on one of the web's many job sites or that I was already in your database. Before we get into your email, I would like to cover a few bases with you that I think may help you not only in this search, but in future searches as well.
First off, if we have a previous rapport, it is perfectly fine to contact me with few personal details in your email. Evidently we have spoken before and you are just passing along information for my consumption. If we have never been in contact before, I feel that a short introduction is in order. At least tell me who you are and who you represent. And no, your email signature is not good enough. It's not hard to throw in a "Hi Greg! I'm Joe Schmoe with ABC IT Services!" It's much better than "I saw your resume online. Look at this job." followed by a signature. I'm a person... trying being personable.
Secondly, as a technical recruiter, it may help that you have some technical knowledge. I'm not saying that you have to know everything. All I'm saying is that some knowledge may be helpful. It really makes you look like an idiot in some of the job postings when you have no idea what you are talking about.
On that subject, let's talk about industry certifications. Learn them. They are your lifeline to the "real" world. You need to know what each certification is, where it stands in the hierarchy of that technology, and what kind of knowledge it takes to obtain each cert. Send me one more "entry-level" position that requires a CCIE and I will reply with a very rapidly spreading virus attached to my resume. Trust me when I say your virus scanner will not pick it up either. And don't think I'm joking with you. I will do it. In the world of Cisco, it goes CCENT -> CCNA -> CCNA - Speciality -> CCxP (where x = speciality) -> CCIE - Speciality. The "A" in CCNA means Associate, the "P" in CCNP means Professional, and the "E" in CCIE means EXPERT. May I suggest a quick trip to Cisco's website to brush up on those certs. It takes all of 5 minutes and makes you look a lot less like a complete idiot. Microsoft has a page like this to. So does Citrix. I could continue to link to all the sites, but I'm not going to do your job for you.
Thirdly, let's learn a little English. Now this is a VERY small percentage of you, but when I get an email that reads "I saw you resume online I like bring your attention to following contract position" I am going to assume that if you can't master the languange of the country you reside in, you can't master your job and therefore I'm not going to want you as the guy that holds my future in his hands. How can I trust that you will accurately convey my experience and qualifications to the client if you can't accurately convey the job requirements to me?
Now, about the position that you have contacted me about. Before you start banging out that e-mail to me, do yourself a favor and brush up on those certs we spoke about earlier. If the job REQUIRES a CCNP and the client is not willing to accept a CCNA in place, don't bother wasting my time or your time. Also, I have to ask if the client is even sure what he needs. Is your contact with the client an HR person with no idea what he's talking about when it comes to this position or is he the IT Department head who knows what he wants and needs? If he's the HR guy, chances are he is about as informed as a house fern when it comes to technology. He wants to seem smart and impressive so he's going to say he wants that CCIE for his entry to mid level position. Someone needs to tell him about an old quote... "Tis better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt". Let the big boys handle the big jobs. You are looking for someone to manage your most important asset after your employees; your network. I understand you want the best person for the job, but please be reasonable in your requests. Someone that has undertaken the time and expense to obtain a CCIE is not going to even think about accepting your $60k per year job when he can be making $150k elsewhere.
Think/Read before you write/speak/type/forward. If the client sends you an email with the requirements for a position and in that email one of the requirements is "10 years experience with Microsoft Windows Server 2003" and it's only 2009, contact the client before forwarding me that email. You will come off like an idiot when I read that and not only will I forward it to all of my friends to show them how big of an idiot you are, I will most likely reply to you to tell you how much of an idiot you are. If you think that it is a reasonable request for someone to have 10 years experience with Server 2003, quit your job and kill yourself so you do not contaminate the gene pool any further.
Let me give you an example of an unsolicited email that I would like to see. In this example, you have already looked at my resume and have a position that I may be a fit for.
My name is Cheesy McHeadhunter with TekNetSolutions Consulting Technology Management. I came across your resume on I-Need-A-Job-So-I-Can-Buy-Beer.com and have a position that you may be a fit for. While the requirements for the job state that a CCNP is required, I believe that the client is/would be willing to accept a CCNA and someone with your experience, so please don't let that deter you from getting back with me. I believe that your resume fits what the client really needs and I'm ready to talk with you about this position. You can reach me at 212-382-5968 or my email. I hope to hear from you soon!
(signature with contact info)
How hard is that? You don't look like an idiot, you haven't offended me by treating me like just another set of alphanumeric characters in your "to" line, and it's personable and informative. Wow. You just got my attention! It's SO EASY! You have just become the guy I want working for me. I now feel comfortable with you bidding me to prospective clients and I will almost certainly pass your information along to my friends that are in the market for technical positions. You will now have a whole contact list full of qualified and talented individuals that you can easily place, you'll make better money, and you won't become the laughing stock of the talent pool.
I didn't write this letter to offend you. I wrote this to help you. I hope you take this to heart and do what you can in the future to at least TRY to change the perception that we, the talent pool, have of recruiters. To be honest, we hate dealing with you, but we know it's just a fact of life that we have to. We know you hate dealing with us too. You think of us as pretentious geeks, and that's OK. We are. Let's just try to make the best of it and make it as painless as possible for the both of us.