As a Recruitment Marketer (or aspiring Recruitment Marketer), there are many ways you can grow in your career. In this niche role, we’re fortunate enough to be able to work across a range of industries and organizations. But one option that isn’t always top of mind, though, is working for an agency.
I did a bit of introspection recently and took stock of my career path (I love a good career journey!) and, while I’m happy working on the corporate side of Recruitment Marketing today, I do look back with appreciation on the time I spent working at a top recruitment agency.
Why? Well, here are five ways it helped me in my career (and hopefully this can help you determine where you may find a good fit):
1. It helped me learn the TA landscape, quickly.
I spent the early part of my career working in communications and marketing. When I joined the team at Bernard Hodes Group (now Symphony Talent), I had the chance to transition over and apply some of the tactics and principles from the marketing communications space to the recruiting world.
With some good on-the-job training and strong leaders in the company, I learned what tools to use within Talent Acquisition, what the candidate mindset looked like and how to get in front of this new audience. And I brought my fresh perspective to the table, too. It was a great mix.
However, you don’t need to be working for a Recruitment agency in order to reap the rewards. If you’re working for a traditional marketing agency, it will help you quickly learn the marketing landscape, which you can then apply back to TA later if Recruitment Marketing is your career goal.
2. It provided me with insight and experience across industries.
At the agency, I worked with clients from across multiple industries, all with different brands and different hiring challenges. That variety helped me realize what industries I liked to focus on most, along with what approaches work best for different audiences.
For instance, it’s vastly different to attract an hourly warehouse worker vs. a software developer. And, this type of experience means you’ll have more doors opened in your own career as opportunities in Recruitment Marketing emerge down the line. You won’t be pigeonholed into one industry.
3. It helped hone my presentation skills.
Working for an agency meant sharing demo decks, strategy pitches and performance summaries with clients on an ongoing basis. I’m not going to lie — not all of them went well. But, sometimes we learn best from the most challenging experiences, and these client presentation skills are crucial anywhere else you go in life. I don’t think I realized how important those presentations were back then, but when I present to a room full of executive leaders today, I look back with fond appreciation on those learnings.
4. It allowed me to touch different aspects of strategy.
Working for an agency meant constantly jumping from one strategy area to another. In the morning, I might have been focused on a company’s careers site architecture and in the afternoon, I might have been working on the employer brand messaging for another organization. My role may have been unique at the time, but I do believe with the rise of Recruitment Marketing that it has become more commonplace. The variety of experiences and tactical executions really let me “get my hands dirty” and execute much of the strategy.
5. It gave my resume more credibility.
Employers recognize and understand the range of experiences and insights that agency life can provide you. Working at an agency can open the door for you to take different types of recruitment marketing roles, and not be limited by specific industries.
Despite all of these phenomenal experiences, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. If you’re wondering why I’m not working for an agency today, it’s really because I wanted to dive a little deeper and make a real impact leading the Employment Brand and Recruitment Marketing efforts for one organization. Today, in my current role at Cox Enterprises, I’m able to really understand the business needs and put together long-term strategies to move the needle.
Of course, your experience at an agency could differ significantly from my own, depending on the agency, the leadership, the client roster and your role. As with any new job, carefully assess the people who interview you and the environment there to ensure it seems like a good fit for you (hello, employment branding!!).
I hope these insights about my own experience are helpful to you as you may consider the best steps for your own career. Whatever choice you make, remember to enjoy the journey and learn something with each step you take. Best of luck!