When you apply to register with a recruitment agency, you will be asked to send a CV and then usually called in for an interview. Although the agency is not the prospective employer, it is their representative, so it’s important to put as much work into getting your CV right and preparing for interview as you would if you were dealing with the employer directly. The agency does a large part of the preliminary assessment for the employer, and if they don’t think you’re up to scratch they won’t put you forward, and may not even register you on their database.
Make sure you approach the right kind of agencies – ones that specialise in your industry or profession, and cater to your level of work. Ensure that you’re clear in your own mind about the kind of work you want to do and the minimum salary you’re prepared to accept. Some agencies will try and pressure you into taking different work or a lower salary, but if your aims are clear beforehand they’ll get nowhere.
Once you’ve registered with an agency, keep them updated on developments in your skills, experience and achievements so that they can add them to your file and boost your chances. And stay on their back. It can be easy for an agency to get you on the books and then forget about you, so make sure you have a named contact in the agency and keep calling them on a weekly basis to see what’s happening. This will keep you at the forefront of their minds and maybe even get them actively looking for a position for you.
Above all, don’t just leave it to the agencies. While they get on with looking for your next job, you should be doing the same.