Recruitment agencies are gatekeepers to invaluable information about your niche and could hold the key to your next job. They have a broad view of specific job markets and can give you insight into specific employers or answers to general career questions. When you contact them for the first time, it’s really important that you give them a positive, lasting impression so that you form the foundations for a good working relationship.
The best way to approach recruitment agencies is to do some research to find recruiters that work within your particular niche or industry. And then dig a little deeper by doing further research on Linkedin to find names and details of senior recruiters who have the potential to assist with your job search. It’s best to avoid talking to Resourcers or Junior Recruiters who may not be as knowledgeable about the industry or subject matter as their colleagues. Furthermore their experience of the recruitment process may not be adequate to meet your needs and answers your questions.
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Make sure your CV or Resume is up to professional standards and then have a look at their job listings to see if any match your aspirations and skill set. Be realistic, otherwise if you approach an agent for an inappropriate job you might give the impression that you are unfocussed or under-ambitious. Remember – you really need to instil confidence in the recruiter so that they are happy to introduce you to their clients.
Once you’ve found something suitable, write a covering e-mail that highlights the skills, achievements, attributes and qualities you possess which match the job you are applying for. Avoid – at all costs – sending an e-mail which begins “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” because it’s impersonal and will take longer for the company administrator to trace the intended recipient. Have a look on the ‘About Us’ page of the company website and you might find the name you’re looking for. At the very least, you will find the name of someone to correspond with.
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Failing that, pick up the phone and ring the agency to find out who is handling that particular job and provide a reference number, if asked. There is a good chance that the person who answers the phone might also be the person you’re looking for, so be prepared to answer questions and assure them that you are a good fit for the job. If the person you are looking for is not available, get their name and direct email address and find out when they will be free. Then, drop them a line using a precise and succinct email – that’s relevant to the application – along with your excellent, professionally proofread CV.
Close the e-mail politely, saying that you look forward to talking with them soon and that you will give them a call to find out more about the agency and other opportunities that match your aspirations. The message here is that you must be proactive and polite, and you must provide a great CV that showcases your relevant skills.