Should I apply direct to an employer or use recruitment agencies?


The answer can be both.

Going to direct to employers can be beneficial when your experience is not directly relevant, such as when making a career change.  Recruitment agencies are required to send their clients candidates who closely match the job specification.  If they didn’t do this, their clients will assume they are incompetent and will not use them again.  Sadly, recruitment agencies have little incentive to work with people making career changes or those with slightly less than perfect experience. You will just be too hard to sell in and recruiters work on commission.  So you must go direct and use networks.  In addition, in such circumstances your cover letter can be as important as your CV, as you will need to persuade an employer why they should consider you even though your experience is not perfect for the role.

However, if you are highly qualified in a particular field, recruitment agencies will put your CV into the hands of their clients.  They can do a great sales job for you.  On the other hand, our experience of some recruitment companies is that they will send your CV into roles without fully understanding the client’s brief and without making sure your CV is really tailored to the role, hoping their own sales skills will make up for any obvious deficiencies.  It won’t work.  As soon as the recruiter has emailed or called the client about you, the client then reads the CV independently and if it doesn’t fit well enough then they will reject it.

In both cases, making your CV relevant and targeted carefully at the job specification is crucial.  You need to manage and adapt your CV in all cases. Otherwise, perfectly good opportunities will be lost.


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