17 Ways To Grow Your Career As A Recruiter

Shutting the door, she turned facing me sitting on the floor. “How much longer?”

“How much longer what?”

“Until we start moving forward with our relationship.”

I was cornered. I thought for a second – the good flooded my mind, then the bad (more than I want to remember). Then it happened again.

I watched the next few moments in an out-of-body experience.

Answering I said to her, if things continue to improve and we grow together, I can see us moving forward (beyond dating) within the year.

“NO! I want to be engaged in six months and married within the year.”

There was no need to think any more. Calmly I replied, “If things were improving, I might agree, but they are not. You need to find the person who can give you what you want.”

She started to cry and walked out. The door closed and we haven't spoken since.

. . .


She was the first person it was easy to let walk out of my life. Some I loved deeply, a few I chased after. Others I wished were still here, but they closed the door and cut me out, like we never existed. 

They had to do what was best for them and I learned to do the same.

When someone walks out of your life, be grateful. Grateful they left you, alone.

Today I am a fortune teller. I see your future and the past.

When you allow someone to walk out, it is because they didn’t treat you with love and respect. They caused you to suffer. We only accept the amount of abuse we give ourselves. When someone abuses us more…

NO, STOP! Go away.

It is a gift when someone leaves – say “thank you.” Accept the gift.

It hurts at first, but you can heal when you are alone. Years of suffering and wounds can’t heal when you are together. 

Give yourself time to heal. Forgiveness is the drug that cures all pain.


  1. Say yes to everything

Early in your career, you need experience, and the best way to gain it is by saying yes. Of every ten opportunities, say yes nine times and no only once. Nine yeses and one no. 

When you are young, you can live like this.


  1. Start with the most challenging hiring managers and jobs at a company

I was new to corporate recruiting, and willing to do anything. He said, “We’re going to be working on tech pubs.” I didn’t know at the time, but this was considered the un-sexy part of software development.

I did the grunt work. We found the right people to hire; we worked with the toughest hiring teams and were successful. People talked about us.


  1. Read

The fastest way to grow beyond experience and experimentation, is reading.


  1. Work with executives (stretch)

We scheduled a call. I called him, he listened for 60 seconds and stopped me. “Here is what I need to know, Clinton.” He asked three questions. I stumbled answering them.

“Okay, I have to go now.” The call lasted four minutes, not 30.

When you work with executives, you learn to be concise.


  1. Find your plus, minus, and equal

(+) Plus:  Someone a level or two above you who you can learn from.

(-) Minus:  Someone a level or two junior to you who you can help and teach.

(=) Equal:  Someone at your level.

Spend time with these people.


  1. How to have the best mentors

“Can you introduce me to (redacted)?” What’s in it for the mentor, I thought?

I decided not to introduce them. The person asking was a taker. I have been a leach of other people’s time too. I couldn’t let it happen again, so I said, “No, I can’t introduce you.” 

Choose your mentors from books. Once you develop, maybe someone will want to mentor you. It doesn’t matter. You can have the best mentors, living or dead, near or far, by reading their work.


  1. Themes not goals

Goals help to reach a destination, but it is the wrong destination, for the wrong reasons.

You're human, don’t try to be a robot.

Have themes to your life. Growth, love,  savings, spending, and happiness. You can set goals to help you reach a point. But themes are broader like a genre of music. Explore the depths and breadth of a sound. Mix two sounds together and come up with a new sound or genre.


  1. Work at big and small companies, then go solo

Company size determines the kind of work you do and WHAT you will learn.

I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve worked at big companies and enjoyed the focus. I enjoyed being number 44 when we were a small team post-acquisition.

What matters most now is WHO I work with.


  1. “We’ll know if you steal our database”

His door opened and I pushed the Human Resources person back into his office. “I have something to tell you. I have decided to leave for a better opportunity.”

“Yeah, that sounds about right, you have been checked out for the past month.” The HR person looked at him in disbelief (I was one of the first few in the office, and the last to leave). He went on. “If you have stolen anything from us, or our database, we will know – there’s software on your laptop that will tell us.”

He lied! He was upset and trying to threaten me.

I was walking out on him and he couldn't accept it. To this day he hasn’t spoken to me.

You must walk out to continue to grow yourself and your career.


  1. Step into risk – high risk, high reward, high engagement

I was safe. I made good money and my job was boring.

I looked for the biggest leap I could take, I was scared but I had to do it, I jumped. Quitting​, I tried something I had no experience doing and failed miserably. I burned so much cash that I went into debt.

It’s okay. I was doing what I wanted. Even when I didn't know what I wanted to do this is what I wanted.

At 16-years-old, they asked me what I wanted to do, and all that interested me was business. So I studied business then. And later I tried it out on my own.

I learned so much during that time. I changed, I grew, I traveled. It is the cheapest education I have ever received.

Years later when I took a job, I said, “I need $10,000 more, I have debt to pay off.” He said, “Okay.”


  1. Ignore advice

“You are an idiot if you pass up going to work at Google.” It didn’t matter, my decision was made. I wasn’t going to continue to interview with them. I chose the strongest team, where I could learn the most. 

One year later, everyone who went to work at Google was fired. That’s how it worked then.


  1. Start a business, everything changes

When you work for yourself, you only do what is necessary. Things that bring in revenue and keep the lights on. You carefully consider each hire. And you look at your bank statement regularly. 

I can survive X more months at this rate.


  1. Consider the source of information

Friends and family give career advice freely. I’m giving you advice and we don’t even know each other.

Always consider the source of information. Throw most of it away and only keep what works for you.


  1. Hide

“Let me tell you about my idea.”

I don’t want to hear it. Show me the smaller idea, take a step. Make your big idea come to life. Build smaller ideas that make your “great” idea possible.

If you’re not sure how to do this, how to move forward, read the children’s book What Do You Do With An Idea. 

Today this is my small step.


  1. Learn to trust yourself

This is the hardest one. We are right much of the time. But data and science tell us differently​. In three years the “science”  changes​ again.

It's too late when we second guess ourselves. The hardest thing to learn is trusting​ yourself.

Trust your experience and your analysis, don’t waver or change your decision based on a voice in the back of your mind.


  1. Say “No”

When you start your career, you say yes to everything. With more experience, you learn a new relationship with time. I value my time differently. You may be younger with different values. 

Say no to almost everything, only work with WHO you want to work with, only go to dinner with people you like. If you want to be alone, say so.

Say no to almost everything.

Later in your career you must learn to say NO. Say no to almost everything so you can focus on your best work. 

Ten options, nine nos, and only one yes.


  1. Create niches

Every day I see posts like this: 

"If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity; please feel free to reach out to me at [redacted]"

They rarely work because they aren't targeted. Instead, create niche insider lists of candidates who fit certain roles.

Contact TARGETED lists when you have a role that matches. Solicit feedback on the position, grow your list. Only approach qualified leads.


. . .



18. Throw everything away and start over

“I can’t do that, I’ll lose my best stuff.”

The darkest, funniest comedian in America, Louis C.K. scraps his act at the end of each year. The curtain falls, lights dim, and that’s it! 

He’ll never perform the set again. Forcing himself to start over with a blank page -- he creates new material for each new tour.

Louis says, "If you write a book, you can't keep writing it." 

A few months ago I went home and did this.

Opening boxes I pulled out everything. Years of my “best material” I was holding on to. Everything I thought was special and I loved. Things I thought loved me back.

Little reminders from the past owned me. I was drowning in a decade of emotional garbage. 

Looking at them now was different, it was clear something had changed inside of me. For the first time I could face them without any pain. I flipped through them and smiled.

I am healed.




Clinton Buelter is a senior technical recruiter, the author of Cold Email Idea Machine, and founder ofwww.coldemailforrecruiters.com - a popular website for recruiters who want to take  their cold email and recruiting skills to the next level.

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