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Some people can be wary of recruitment agencies or may be unsure of what to expect and how to work well alongside them. Recruitment agencies are a great way to secure employment and are another way of tackling the hidden job market. Some employers only use recruitment agencies due to their lack of time so they are definitely worth striking up a relationship with. It is about being methodical and ensuring you are working with recruiters in a way that meets your career objectives. Here are a few tips to help you fully utilise this avenue:
There are lots of recruitment agencies so it is hard to know where to make a start. Work out what agencies tend to advertise positions that are in your field, speak to colleagues and friends and find out their experiences with recruitment agencies so you can work out who are the most reputable in your area and industry/profession.
There is no point in you registering with lots of agencies. Some agencies can be working with the same employers as each other so you don’t want to waste your time (or theirs). Select two or three and put in the effort to develop these relationships.
Find out the most appropriate person within the agency that deals with your type of roles and request to meet them. A good way to do this is connect with them on LinkedIn and make sure to send a personalised message when connecting (not the standard one on the app). When you meet with them they can gain an understanding of your skills and experience. When a position becomes available then they will know straight away if you are suitable and put you forward.
Although you are not meeting the employer it is important to make a good first impression. Remember the recruitment agency will be representing you and they need to know you are reliable and will not let them down. So dress in your work wear, take a copy of your CV along (even if you have emailed it) and passport so they can register you fully. Be prepared and remember if you can convince the recruitment agency then they will help convince the employer.
When you meet with the agency there may be a tendency to have an informal chat rather than a formal meeting. Therefore it is important to showcase your skills and experience as if you were in an interview. This means the recruiter will truly understand your experience so they can introduce you to employers. You will also gain an understanding of what types of positions they have and what may become available. Remember the recruiter’s job is to decide who are the best candidates and only put forward a certain number to the employer for interview.
Make sure you keep in touch with the recruiter. Try and give them a call once a fortnight or so. This means when a position becomes available they know you are still on the market and you will be at the forefront of their mind. Do not worry if you think you are annoying them: it just demonstrates you are keen and enthusiastic.
I hope that helps and good luck!
*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of thecvguru.co.uk which is a leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services. Emma has over 10 years experience in recruitment and employment related services covering a wealth of industries. Having been a professional employment consultant for several years, she has provided professional advice covering everything from professional CV/LinkedIn writing, effective job searching, interview skills and preparation, presentation techniques and general professional coaching.