Posted On 24th June 2012

It’s true. Looking for a job is hard work. Especially in a market like today’s when employers can have their pick of candidates at all levels. Faced with difficulty for the first time in finding a new contract, I recently advised a client what steps she could take to find assignments for herself if she really didn’t think that the agencies she’d gone to were presenting her skills and expertise properly. Her reaction was, “You must be joking. You can’t possibly expect someone to do all that.”

Her choice, I guess. Love them or loathe them, recruiters have a place in our jobs market and we’ll leave it at that.

There are, however, some things that you really should be doing for yourself and not paying intermediaries for. In the past few weeks we’ve had a handful of inquiries about CV distribution. The straight answer is, we don’t do this. We believe this is taking money and adding no value and isn’t beneficial for candidates.

Looking at it objectively, what do you get for your money? Someone takes on the task of sending your CV to recruiters and posting it on jobs boards. Functionally, this isn’t difficult and you have to ask yourself why you aren’t doing this for yourself. You might consider yourself too time poor but, if you don’t do this yourself, you lose an opportunity to make a case for yourself.

So, in a competitive marketplace, paying someone to distribute your CV offers you the comfort of ticking that part of the job hunt off the list. But without the follow up or the enthusiasm of the candidate pitching their case, either in writing or verbally, what do you think happens to these applications?

The short answer is nothing. If a recruiter or a jobs board receives many, many, many new CVs a day, what is going to make yours stand out? There is a chance that your CV will arrive at the same fortuitous moment as a job with your name all over it but that’s a pretty thin chance.

If you still don’t see my point, I’ll tell you a story from my own experience. A few years ago, when I was still in executive recruitment, I opened my email one morning to find a message from a leading outplacement consultancy with a CV attached. The email explained that the candidate they were offering me had had a successful business career and was interested in taking his highly attractive transferrable skills to a senior role in the voluntary sector. I was working on a voluntary sector role at the time so I printed off the CV and started reading. I had no clue why this candidate would be suitable for the voluntary sector. I passed it on to my manager. He couldn’t see it either. Finally, we asked for the opinion of a consultant specialising in this sector. He looked at it and dismissed it as yet another person who had just been made redundant from a high paying business career with hazy notions of “giving something back”. The CV ended up in the bin.

The candidate never got the call. He didn’t get any chance to explain why he was right for any of our current assignments. And he certainly never got any feedback on how to improve his applications.

In brief, if you want to move forwards in your job hunt, there are some things that you just have to do yourself.

Heidi Nicholson [contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact Page Form"]