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Tips

WORKING WITH A SEARCH FIRM

There are some things you can do to ensure that an agency does the best job possible for you.

  • Submit your resume in PDF or Word format, to ensure that it can be sent to prospective employers electronically.  The agency can scan a paper copy, but an electronic copy gives the highest quality.
  • Ensure that your resume is readable, well laid-out and free of spelling/grammar errors.  Have a friend or professional service go over it if possible.  When speaking with a recruiter, ask for feedback on your resume, and be willing to consider their suggestions.
  • Send an updated version of your resume to the search firm every time you acquire a new skill/qualification or a new piece of job experience.  Enclose a note to ensure that the resume replaces your old one in the database.
  • Notify your search firm if your address, telephone number, cell number or email address change.
  • Do feel free to register with more than one search firm, but try not to register with too many (more than 3) because it becomes difficult to keep track of which organizations each one is representing you to.  NEVER allow your resume to be submitted for the same job by two different search firms.
  • Be honest about your level of interest in a job, before the interview.  Interviewing for a job you don’t intend to take wastes everyone’s time.
  • One of a search firm’s chief advantages is that you now have someone to act and negotiate on your behalf.  Choose an agency you can trust, communicate your salary/rate expectations to them, and let them negotiate with the employer.  This minimizes gameplaying, and puts an advisor on your side who knows the market and what you should be able to charge for your expertise.  Avoid discussing money during the interview, because this is the time when the employer holds all the cards.
  • Keep the lines of communication open when you have been placed in a job (temporary, contract or permanent).  Your search firm can do a lot to help you resolve any questions or issues, but only if they know what your feelings are.
  • If you wish to discuss a pay raise in a contract position, the best time is at contract renewal.  Be prepared to back up your request by describing your increasing value and contributions on the job.
Ideally, you should remain at a contract or temporary placement until it is finished.  But if you must leave the placement, be sure to give as much warning as possible.  This allows the client organization and the search firm to replace you more easily, and leaves everyone with a positive impression of you for the future.

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