Job seekers often view recruiters through narrow prisms. In that limited view, recruiters are the means to an end. Their sole function is to get candidates through the door at their dream jobs. But recruiters are much more than that. If you work with them only when you’re actively seeking new positions, you will miss out on the depth of knowledge they offer. Recruiters interview thousands of candidates and hiring managers throughout their careers. They know what their clients want in potential hires and what helps employees excel. They can also tell you which behaviors cause people to be overlooked or let go. In the accounting and finance industries, professional transitions can begin two years before you make a move. Recruiters can act as informal career coaches during that time, guiding you on how to be your best self at work. Even after you’ve landed a new job, you will always have your eye on the next rung of the career ladder. You have a better chance of continuing the climb if you have a trusted person in your corner.
Career advancement doesn’t happen in fits and starts. It’s an ongoing, strategic process that is difficult to navigate without expert guidance.Career advancement doesn’t happen in fits and starts. It’s an ongoing, strategic process that is difficult to navigate without expert guidance. Let’s look at the ways in which recruiters support you through professional transitions.
1. Evaluate Internal OpportunitiesOnce you’re working for a company, your managers may offer you projects that suit their agendas more than your own. Maybe there’s a spot they need to fill, and they want you to take on those responsibilities. But those assignments don’t necessarily align with your career trajectory. Recruiters act as sounding boards who help you see whether internal opportunities will benefit you long-term. If you’re an accounting manager, your boss might ask you to work on a system implementation that requires a deep dive into a particular area. You’ll develop specialized skills, but are those the attributes you want to strengthen? The assignment might be a high-level project within your organization, and you’ll probably earn recognition and possibly promotions for the work. But being embedded in a company means you don’t have the pulse of the broader industry. You don’t know how this internal experience measures up at other organizations. But your recruiter does. They can tell you whether or not this project will hold value externally and will catch the eyes of hiring managers at other companies. Recruiters keep you mindful of where you want to be five or ten years down the road. There’s a clear path for many upper-level positions, and you want to ensure that you’re checking the right boxes to get there. If you’re a manager or director and want to become a CFO, you need to consider whether you need experience in investor relations or treasury. Perhaps you need an MBA or CPA. Companies look for very specific traits in CFO candidates, and you want to cultivate experience that meets those criteria. A recruiter can counsel you on critical choices about what you take on within your company. They can ensure that you stay on the path toward your ultimate goals.
2. Establish a Path to PromotionSetting yourself up for promotion isn’t as intuitive as you might think. Unless you’re a born overachiever, you need to do more than show up. You make a name for yourself by excelling at your responsibilities and doing more than what’s asked. To become a rising star, you must contribute to your group as quickly as possible, collaborate with your teammates, and jump in to help in other areas whenever possible. You should shadow other departments, and show that you’re eager to grow and be a valuable asset to the company. A recruiter will suggest ways for you to stand out and help you connect meaningfully with key decision makers.
In the same way that financial advisers do much more than consult on investments, recruiters offer more extensive support than merely arranging interviews.Recruiters want to work with you for the long haul, so they’ll know how you can follow up on past successes and position yourself for advancement. In the same way that financial advisers do much more than consult on investments, recruiters offer more extensive support than merely arranging interviews.
3. Build a Long-term RelationshipAt BVOH Finance & Accounting Search, we consider ourselves trusted advisers rather than recruiters. We have our clients’ and candidates’ best interests at heart, and we’ll do whatever we can to get them where they want to be. The better your recruiter knows you, the more they can help. You may embark on external job searches several times throughout your career. As soon as you realize it’s time for a change, your recruiter can hit the ground running for you. They know your priorities and experience, so they can identify the opportunities for which you’re best suited. There’s no “getting to know you” period; you both dive right into the search. Having a trusting relationship with a recruiter is incredibly powerful. They invest in your career development before you really need them and before they stand to gain financially. Now it’s game time, and you know they’re there for you 100 percent.
4. Maintain Your MarketabilityWhen you’re focused on kicking butt and taking names at your job, you’re not paying attention to other opportunities. You’re not scanning job postings or researching who’s hiring. But your recruiter keeps an eye on what’s available even when you’re not. They know which companies might pique your interest, and they keep you abreast of where you might go in the future.
A good recruiter becomes your champion, whether you’ve just started a job or are seeking new opportunities.Great recruiters never pressure you to make a change; they simply make changes available. You might develop that relationship over several years while you’ve still got your head down at your current position. Your recruiter looks out for you by scouting positions and ensuring that you’re building competitive skills. When you finally lift your head, you have a rich landscape of opportunities from which to choose. A good recruiter becomes your champion, whether you’ve just started a job or are seeking new opportunities. Your success depends on your ability to grow as a professional and make smart decisions at each step in your career journey. Specialized recruiters are the most qualified advisers you’ll find, no matter where you are in that process.
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