By Felix Erken – MD of Job Mail, (as part of the Junk Mail Media Group)

Looking for a job can be rather daunting, especially if you don’t know where to begin your search for vacancies. Luckily, there are recruitment agencies out there, with trained professionals whose work it is to find you a job.

These recruitment specialists’ primary function is to liaise with companies to look for job opportunities in various industries, and scout for the right candidates to fill these positions.

There are numerous ways to get your CV to a recruitment agency

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You could email it with an introductory cover letter mentioning that you are in the market for a new job; respond to a job vacancy listed on their website or another online job portal like Job Mail; connect via networking sites like LinkedIn; or phone them directly and ask if you could send through your CV and arrange an appointment.

Dealing with recruiters can be tricky though. Although most of these professionals take their job very seriously and are committed to find you a job that will be a great fit, some are less than ethical in their recruitment practices.

1. Don’t appear desperate

Try to avoid first making contact with recruiters when you’re absolutely desperate for a new job, i.e. when you’ve just quit your job, been fired or laid off.

Most recruiters don’t want you to contact them when the pressure is on to find you a job right away. They preferably want to have ample time to assess you as a potential candidate and learn about your skills and experience to be able to match you to their vacancies.

As far as possible, get in touch with recruiters in your field while you are still employed but exploring other opportunities. This will enable your CV to be noticed, and you to establish a good rapport with recruiters who will be able to help you make the move when the time is right.

2. Go with recruitment companies you can trust

You don’t want your CV to land in the wrong hands. By randomly distributing your CV online and not doing thorough research on the credibility of the recruitment agents you are approaching, you are risking putting your career and reputation in jeopardy.

Most reputable recruiters act in an ethical and professional manner at all times, understanding that they need to be discreet when trying to find you a new job without causing you problems in your current one.

Your CV in the hands of the wrong job recruitment agent, one who is only out to make money from a quick placement, could see your CV being sent to competitors of the company you are at, or end up in your current employer’s inbox

3. Choose a recruiter that specialises in your industry

Don’t waste your time sending your CV to recruiters who are not actively doing placements in your industry or field of expertise. Most recruiters specialise in particular areas such as medical, IT, engineering, digital marketing etc.

These recruiters are knowledgeable about the industry and who’s currently hiring, and are best able to match you up with suitable vacancies for your particular skill set and experience. Recruiters who are not familiar with your field, are more than likely to just chuck your CV in the bin.

4. Be open about your current earnings and salary expectations

You are under no obligation to provide a job recruitment agent with a copy of your pay slip or to disclose your exact salary. However, in order for a recruiter to best match you with a job that would pay you either an equal or better salary than what you are currently earning, you need to provide an approximate figure of what you are earning right now, and an expected salary range. You don’t want to waste your time interviewing for jobs that would mean a huge pay cut for you.

If you currently find yourself in a role that pays way under the usual market-related salary, and you feel that you are worth far more because of your skills and experience, don’t disclose your current earnings. Only provide your salary expectations to the recruiter. Otherwise the recruiter might match you with jobs of similar pay to what you are currently earning, that are far below your professional capabilities.

5. Make your CV recruiter-friendly

Recruitment companies receive thousands of CVs daily, and you not only have to ensure that yours stands out from the rest, but that it is in a format the recruiter is able to quickly access.

Your CV is the first impression you’ll make on a recruiter.

You might be a great candidate for the job, but if your CV looks unprofessional or it’s a hassle for a recruiter to open and view it electronically, they will disregard it in a second and move on to the next one.

You might be a great candidate for the job, but if your CV looks unprofessional or it’s a hassle for a recruiter to open and view it electronically, they will disregard it in a second and move on to the next one

Here are some CV tips:

  • Firstly, ensure that your CV is well constructed, professional-looking, containing all your relevant information such as your personal details, skills and experience, and that it has no spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Also keep it to two to three pages, maximum. This depends on the type of career you have, however. For academic, research and scientific careers, a lengthier CV is acceptable.
  • Recruiters usually prefer to receive a CV in either PDF or Microsoft Word format attached to an email or submitted through an online job portal.

You can also register your CV and cover letter on an online job portal that sends it to recruiters in a user-friendly electronic format, as you apply for jobs. What’s great about registering your CV on an online job portal is that recruiters use it as a database to scout for potential candidates that match their specific job requirements, increasing your chances of being head-hunted.

Keep your CV cover letter short and simple

A cover letter is necessary, but should always be short and to the point. A lot of recruiters simply skim through the cover letter or completely skip it to focus on the CV of the candidate.

In the cover letter you can include things that you don’t have on your CV, that pertain particularly to the job you are applying for, like how your skills match the requirements of the particular job advertised, what excites you about the opportunity and company, etc.

6. Don’t expect miracles

Although they are very good at what they do, know a lot about the ins and outs of the industry and are capable of spotting great potential and placing these candidates in great jobs quickly, recruiters are not miracle workers.

If you’re thinking about making a complete career change, but hoping for someone to believe in your potential and place you based simply on that, even though you haven’t acquired skills and experience in the new industry yet, then a recruiter can’t help you.

7. Recruitment companies’ primary job is to match candidates with jobs that require the specific skills and experience they already have

Although they are very knowledgeable on all matters of recruitment, recruiters are not career counsellors who spend their days giving free career advice and tips, helping candidates draft their CV or providing emotional support. Recruiters’ function is to find great job opportunities within the industries they specialise in and then find suitable candidates to put forward for those positions.

However, don’t be afraid to ask a question, as your recruiter will gladly answer you as best they can.

Just don’t expect them to drop their usual tasks and spend hours giving you career counselling.
Working with recruitment agencies when looking for a job is a great way to find a suitable employment that matches your particular skills and experience.

These are professional people who know what they do. Just ensure that you embrace the process of recruitment, without getting impatient or angry, and allow your agent to take the time needed to match you up with the best job possible.