In an increasingly competitive job market there is a one key question that I always get asked by people, “How can I make myself stand out as candidate?”.  Differentiating yourself is vital if you want to land that dream job - that’s where an experienced recruiting agency can help and be part of your job search strategy.

Building up a strong relationship with a reputable and professional agency can be an essential step, because they will help give you the edge over your rivals.

Here are 6 top tips to getting the most out of a candidate/agency relationship:

1.     Employment is becoming more and more specialized so you must ensure you find agencies for your profession and in your geographical area of interest.  Make sure the agency understands the specialist skills and knowledge of your marketplace. Also when you speak to a consultant, ask about the quality of contacts he or she has, to help you determine if they have credibility in your sector.

2.     Make sure the consultant clearly understands the work you do. If they are going to match you with that perfect job then they have to recognize and appreciate your core skill set.

3.     Give your consultant strong direction.  Be open with them about salary range, bottom line requirements and key needs.  If you work in a particular sector then you will already have a good knowledge of the market and what is available.  I strongly recommend you supply him/her with a list of firms you want to work for as well as those you wouldn’t consider. Make sure you explore options that may help you get into a new market such as contract and contract to hire arrangements.

4.     It's a two-way street.  Keep building on your relationship with your consultant over time and communicate regularly.  Most importantly, be completely open with them about all aspects of your job search because they have to be able to fully understand your motivations.   And when they have a potential opportunity and need information from you, respond quickly.  In a competitive market it is often the first best match in that wins not necessarily the overall best, as employers do not have the resources and time to be exhaustive in their search.

5.     Keep in mind that an agency makes their money based on fees paid by the employer to help them find top candidates.  As a potential candidate you are of value but the recruiters most urgent priority is the current positions they need to fill. If you do not fit this need then do not expect immediate responses or activity.  Respect their process and know that it is your responsibility to find your next opportunity and to keep yourself top of mind for them.

6.     Remember a recruiter can provide you with expert advice.  Once you have been identified as a potential candidate they will be there to guide you through the whole process, and the best thing about it is that their advice is free!  Always ask them to give you feedback on your resume.  When you get an interview, make sure you have a thorough briefing call on how to approach the interview and how to best present yourself.  

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