Having graduated in 2013, it wasn’t so long ago when I was faced with the daunting task of finding my first job and having no idea what I wanted to do. Most of the students and graduates I speak with are facing the same predicament and now, unequivocally, I offer the same advice: think about recruitment.
I was lucky in that all of the part-time jobs and internships I had during school involved elements of sales and customer service, but you rarely get enough exposure for it to make a significant difference in the workplace. Recruitment is not only a good option for fresh graduates as it's relatively easier to get a job in the first place, but it also allows you to really fine-tune some of those crucial career skills such as networking, negotiating, pitching or presenting, time-management and prioritization. Once you get a taste for recruitment you'll hopefully want to stick to this career forever, but if no it will at least lay the foundation for a swift ascent up another career ladder.
So why exactly is recruitment the best first job?
1. “Life’s a Pitch”
The pitch is an essential part of any modern business. Now that technology can pretty much enable anything we dream of, ideas are the most valuable commodity. When pitching for new business, ideas and emotional intelligence will often be the factors that determine one’s success.
However, as Roger Mavity’s book indicates, pitching isn’t only relevant in the business world. It applies to almost every significant personal interaction in your life. From interviewing to dating to convincing your boss to let you take the lead on a key project, knowing how to sell yourself and your ideas could be the difference between happiness and success and missing out on a great opportunity.
Recruitment therefore doesn’t just teach you how to pitch your services or ideas in a business context; it develops your ability to stand out, to communicate persuasively and sell yourself and your ideas to the world.
2. You learn how to work with lots of different personality types
Recruitment is truly a people business and a few months in the industry dramatically enhances a recruiter’s emotional intelligence. By forcing you to interact with and manage a myriad of different personalities, recruitment fine-tunes your adaptability, perception and tact. Working in recruitment teaches you how to quickly identify personality types, adjust how you communicate and work with these individuals and inspire them to trust and work with you.
Looking for a new role can be a long, stressful and difficult process, so many recruiters have multi-faceted relationships with their candidates and clients that blur the boundary between professional and personal. At different stages of the process recruiters can be advisors, coaches, agony aunts and friends. This hyper-adaptability is a hugely valuable skill in the business world and can be easily transferred to any environment and situation.
3. You’re basically a mini-CEO
Recruitment typically requires you to "run your own desk". This means you have to win new business and deliver to clients with - for a first-job - mind-boggling autonomy.
Recruitment offers an almost unparalleled opportunity for rapid progression: if you work hard and work smart, you can quickly reap the rewards. And if you decide to move into a different industry down the line, your CV will indicate that you have strong leadership skills and self-starter mentality - qualities that many hiring managers find highly desirable.
4. You become a pro at job-searching, interviewing and negotiating
Recruiters can navigate LinkedIn and job boards like non-other, and will probably have insider information on 'hot' companies and when they will be hiring. If you start recruiting in an industry and/or vertical skills set that you'd want to move into one day, you'll not only have the knowledge you need to talk-the-talk but you could have the contacts to give your application the extra edge.
The nature of your day-to-day work in recruitment - managing your candidates and guiding them through the process - means that you know the techniques and strategies that will improve your chances of getting the job and offer you want. You'll also be aware of the potential pit-falls in the hiring process and how to navigate your way through the trickier parts.
5. You build confidence
I never considered myself to be confident or an excellent sales person. When I was younger I had terrible stage fright. I loved playing the piano and singing, but I’d the thought of performing was terrifying and I'd often choke up.
Selling myself to new clients, closing deals and offering advice has made me significantly more confident in everything I do.
After only a few months of recruitment – talking to complete strangers (some of them very senior and renowned experts in their area), convincing them to work with you and even becoming friends with them – has markedly increased my confidence. Confidence does incredible things for your career and life generally.
6. You become an awesome communicator
Being able to articulate your ideas pursuasively and eloquently is important in any career. What is perhaps even more important is to be able to adjust the way you communicate with others depending on the situation and who you are with. If you think of any great leader, it's likely that their success is largely due to their communication skills and ability to inspire through speech.
When it comes to developing any skill, practice makes perfect. What profession allows you to continually practice and improve your ability to communicate and connect to other people than recruitment? It's what your whole livelihood is based on!
And, Of course, you might also find that you LOVE recruitment and would never think of moving on to anything else.
Everyone at Burns Sheehan admits that they "fell into recruitment" and didn't consider it as a career option when they started looking for their first job, but have since developed a strong passion for the industry and genuinely love their job. This could happen to you too!
Written by Izzy Griffin-Smith
You might also likeHave we convinced you to give recruitment a second thought? Get in touch! We'd love to have an informal chat about your experience and what you're looking for in your next job. If you have any questions about your job-search, CV writing, interviewing tips or what it's like working in recruitment tweet @BurnsSheehan and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.