Should I use a recruitment agency?

Signing up with a recruitment consultancy/agency – also known as employment agencies – means your CV will be among those they have available to forward to relevant employers. This significantly expands the reach of your job search.

In addition to their basic function of matching you to suitable jobs, they offer several benefits. For example, recruiters should have a strong knowledge of their industry and can advise you on the best ways to break into a particular career.

Recruiters tend to be well-connected, meaning that as well as being put forward for open vacancies, your CV can be sent speculatively to a range of employers. And recruitment agencies will also be able to help you improve your CV and cover letter and give you tips on interview technique. If you’re put forward for a job but don’t get it, the agency will usually provide constructive feedback.

Don’t forget though, agencies are paid by the employer – not you. Therefore you should keep an open mind and exercise some caution, you should also do your best to get to know your recruiter, meet the face if possible. You should ask questions about any opportunities presented by them, as their requirement to recommend a given number of candidates for each role may result in them mismatching you against the job criteria. Trust your instincts and be honest if you believe that the role is unsuitable.

Try not to rely solely on agencies though. Search for roles advertised elsewhere and apply speculatively to companies that you’d like to work for. Above all, it’s important to show either a recruiter or an employer that you are serious about your application, enthusiastic about progressing with a potential opportunity and willing to commit to the application process.