You've got the skills and the drive, but do you have what it takes to be a financial project consultant – one who appears on recruitment agencies' "best of" lists? Well, there's no better time to hone those skills than the present. Recruitment agencies are variously called staffing agencies, recruiters, employment agencies and staffing firms, so don't be confused. They all fulfil the same basic function: They find job candidates for client firms for a fee – a fee the client pays, not you.
Here are six ways to help you make it to the top of recruitment agencies' lists:
1. Show, don't tell
Some words do a better job than others of conveying your strengths. When cultivating your resume, in lieu of overused words and phrases such as creative or effective, reach for action words – and describe the results of your actions. Example: "Reviewed depreciation provisions for existing equipment, resulting in $38,000 adjustment over previous year," or, "Hired and trained finance team members responsible for new regional division." Being specific about accomplishments can go a long way toward convincing recruitment agencies to place your resume in the "to call" pile.
2. Maintain your edge
Enhance your skills and take advantage of e-learning opportunities as well as continuing professional education programs. Certifications and designations can also give you an advantage over the competition. If you'd like to dig deeper into a niche area such as fraud, for example, you could become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Let your recruitment agency know when you take classes or receive a new designation. Having up-to-date skills makes you more marketable and easier to place.
3. Build a reputation
It's no secret that recruitment agencies are looking to social media for new talent. Use this to your advantage by marketing yourself as an industry leader. LinkedIn is a valuable tool that can not only help you keep abreast of current trends in the finance world but also give you a platform to demonstrate your level of expertise. Join online finance and accounting groups and be an active participant. Your interactions there could lead to other opportunities to distinguish yourself as an expert in the field, like guest blogging or speaking engagements.
4. Be responsive
Whenever your agency contacts you, call or email back as soon as you can. The more responsive and accessible you are, the better off you will be. Recruiters often need to staff jobs quickly – sometimes, within just a few hours – and the more quickly you can help them to do it, the more likely you are to head to the top of recruitment agencies' lists.
5. Check in
Don't wait for your agency to call you. Check in regularly, especially if you're on an assignment. It's as simple as sending a quick email. Staying in touch shows that you value your relationship with the agency and keeps you on a recruiter's radar.
6. Show your soft side
Interpersonal abilities such as diplomacy, active listening and openness to diverse perspectives are increasingly important for succeeding in today's business environment. But many employers are reporting that finance professionals are coming up short on soft skills. If you work on building and showcasing these abilities, recruitment agencies – and the employers they represent – are likely to take notice.
Working with an employment agency is likely to save you time while job searching. Your efforts to make yourself more marketable are likely to get you to the top of your recruitment agent's list for placement.