Utilizing Job Agencies to Navigate Your Career Journey
It can be frustrating trying to land a job as a recent or semi-recent college graduate with little to no years of full-time work experience under your belt. Furthermore, if you’ve barely been immersed in the real world work life, how are you supposed to know exactly what you want to do or what type of company you want to spend the majority of your waking hours in?
These are examples of the challenges I faced when I moved across the country to begin my career. I didn’t receive many responses after applying to companies through those monster job sites; I felt like I was constantly sending my resume off into an abyss only to be lost among other, more qualified candidates. I wasn’t even sure if I was applying to the right jobs that would actually enjoy. However, things turned around once I utilized recruitment services.
What Career Agencies Do
Career agencies typically match you with either temporary, temporary-to-permanent, or permanent jobs. Temporary assignments are great to get some income flowing while you’re searching for full time positions in your career field. Temp-to-perm assignments give you as the employee the chance to feel out a work environment, while giving the employers a chance to see if they should hire you as a permanent employee. Additionally, some agencies place you directly into permanent roles.
I landed my job through a recruitment agency, Act-1, about a month after moving to my new city. I started at the company working as a temporary employee under Act-1; then, about 6 weeks later the company converted me as their employee. Those 6 weeks allowed me to get comfortable with my role and make a good impression. If I didn’t like it, I was technically able to leave at any time.
Interim positions provide a window into company cultures and various job functions before you make the long term commitment of signing on a permanent employee. They can give you an idea of the industry you desire to build a career in, whether you’d like the feel of a small firm or a large firm, whether the job responsibilities are appropriate, etc.
Another great thing about staffing agencies is that they provide FREE resume building. They will advise you on what skills and qualifications to highlight when applying for certain positions, as well as help you with tailoring your resume. They also work with you one on one to improve your interview technique. They win when you win. Develop an amicable rapport with them and they will be more likely to recommend you as clients come their way.
Tips on Using Career Agencies
Here’s a list of 10 National and International Staffing Agencies to start you off
- Robert Half
- Ultimate Staffing
- Career Group
- Kelly Services
- Man Power
Make your way to as many temp agencies as possible, so that they will all be working to place you in a position! Uncover other staffing agencies specific to your area with a more in-depth Google search — most cities have several agencies to choose from, some large and others boutique.
As you register with each one, make sure you identify any specific skill sets you have, and be able to explain what types of positions and industries you’re open to working in.
Be careful about being too specific–you may seriously limit yourself to potential opportunities and income. On the same token, don’t be too eager and say:
“I just need a job. Any job.” While that may be true, desperation can land you in a position that you may not enjoy…
First things first of course — update your resume, create a list of references with their contact information (the staffing companies WILL contact them), and keep all of your initial interview appointments scheduled in your phone!
Recruiters will almost always want to meet you in person before placing you. I spent a lot of time running all over town meeting with various agencies, and I couldn’t have done it without keeping all the details in my calendar.
You should stay in touch with each staffing company you register with each week to let them know that you are still seeking work, and you may also respectfully decline any opportunity they present you with if it does not align with your vision.
Lastly, don’t rely solely on staffing companies. While you’re waiting for them to match you with opportunities, keep applying to jobs on your own via LinkedIn, Craigslist(with a VERY careful eye), and to companies directly. And don’t wait to start networking! You may meet someone who knows someone who is looking to hire someone! Expanding your network with in-person connections is key.
Have you used a career agency or have one that you would like to recommend? Share your experience in the comments below!