How can recruitment agencies help my job search?

Tue, 31/01/2012 - 17:42 -- nick

Like most things in life, what you put in is what you get out and when it comes to finding a good recruitment agency the same law applies.
Therefore, your strategy of job searching through a recruitment agency still requires good planning, energy and clear goals on your part first. Simply hoping to let a recruitment agency do all the work for you is not a good way forward as you will find yourself being put to the bottom of a very large pile – and staying there.
If you are inexperienced in the business of job searching, there are lots of highly valuable online sources, offering advice and guidance in the following areas, and more.
Writing cover letters
Compiling CV's
Choosing careers
Changing careers
Salary information
Compiling a great portfolio

These tools and more can help you get your own objectives clear so that you can help yourself as much as possible, finding out what you want to achieve and how to go about it.
Selecting a good recruitment agency
Apart for applying to opportunities directly via adverts, you can also register with a recruitment agency who will add their knowledge and expertise, contacts and experience to your search.
However, whilst the recruitment agency is there to find opportunities and place you within them, it does this as a business and it helps to understand this. They are not only serving you but also the companies whose vacancies have been placed with them.
Most recruitment agencies strive to place you in a position that matches your qualifications and requirements and gain their commission for doing so. Specialist recruitment agencies will go further and are able to offer a range of career guidance as well as placing you.
A good agency will want to form a relationship with you and guide you towards fulfilling your potential. Naturally, they have a vested interest in doing this.
Finding the right agency for you
Word of mouth – Ask your friends, colleagues or seek advice from peers as to what kind of recruitment agency you require. Online social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are also great for asking for personal recommendations and also highlights that you're actively looking for work.
Online – Searching on the internet is also a good way to find out about potential agencies. Look through the agencies that come up and get a feel for them, which ones present themselves best and look like they mean business!
Phone – Once you've found a few you like the look of, give them a call. Focus on how this call is treated. Is it professional and friendly, or hurried and dismissive? These are all signs that should help you. A sure sign that an agency is not particularly helpful is that you receive no acknowledgement or any invitations to come and be interviewed as a prelude to being ‘taken on their books’.
Trade Press – A third place to find a good recruitment agency to help you is to look in magazines that are tailored to the industry sector which you are interested in. Many recruitment agencies advertise generally, but often in specific industry sector trade magazines and online of course. Reading their adverts will give you a clear idea if they can help you in find a job in the area you are targeting.
Finding a recruitment agency can prove to be a frustrating and time-consuming experience and you may simply prefer to devote all your time to finding your own openings. It is important to remember that in the search for work, you need to be proactive on all fronts.
It may take some time, but if your effort ultimately leads to the job you really want then it is time well spent. And don't forget, once a recruitment agency has done a good job for you, you may also want them to help in the future when your career moves on.