Copyright (c) 2012 Alison Withers
Sources of information in the hunt for work or for career progression range from the informal such as keeping in touch with contacts, sending out speculative inquiries to companies they are interested in working for, to the more formal options of regularly checking at the job centre and job websites and signing on with a recruitment agency.
The recruitment agency is an option that offers special advantages and there are ways to ensure the candidate gets the most from their services.
When choosing an agency it can be helpful to go for one that specialises in either a sector of the market, such as IT, or in certain types of position, such as secretarial, PA and EA. The REC's website publishes lists of specialist agencies and a consultancy finder to check whether they are REC members.
It is also always advisable to find out more about the agency rather than relying solely on the information published on its website before posting a CV with the agency.
Wherever possible candidates are advised to look for an agency that is a member of the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) because members are required to sign up to a code of conduct which will give the candidate confidence in the quality of the service.
The advantage of using a specialist agency is that their consultants have experience of working in the particular sector represented and therefore will have both contacts among its employers and first hand knowledge of the types of skills, qualifications and expertise each requires.
This also means they have expertise in helping candidates to construct an appropriate CV for the sector and advising on whether there are gaps in their qualifications or experience that could be worked on to improve their chances.
The agency will work hard at building confidence and trust with its employer clients and this can result in it having access to positions that have not been more widely advertised.
When seeking to register with an agency, candidates should expect to be interviewed thoroughly so that the agency can get to know them and ensure that they have the skills and experience that are appropriate for the sector and for the kinds of positions being sought.
Consequently it is important for candidates to present themselves professionally as they would for a job interview but also to be honest and to give the agency all the information it needs to be effective in its efforts to find the right positions.
Honesty also extends to being clear about what jobs the candidate is ideally looking for, those positions they would prefer to avoid and also what their salary expectations are.
After the candidate has been accepted onto the agency's books they can maximise their chances by keeping in regular contact and by listening to and applying any advice they are given by the consultant.
If candidates are not receiving notification of positions to apply for it may be because there isn't enough of the type of work they want and it would be worth having a discussion with their consultant about other options for work they may be willing to do.
Using a specialist recruitment agency can make a job search more efficient and give candidates access to expertise and help not available elsewhere. By Ali Withers. http://www.rmsrecruitment.com
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