Lots of people use job sites such as Reed, Monster etc. and most people will probably apply for jobs directly from these sites. This may well feel like the easier option (and probably is if you have an account set up with them), but it is also the most impersonal option. Picture staring at an inbox full of (potentially hundreds of) faceless applications from ‘Reed’ or the like, waiting for you to sift through.


There’s an alternative which gives you more chance of getting known, and therefore more chance of being invited for interview. Here’s what you need to do in six steps:

  1. Most ads will state at the top who the recruitment agency is – google their website and search for the job there.
  2. If it appears, make a note of the reference number, the person to contact (if given) and the phone number
  3. Read the description again, and make some notes on how you fit the job description – what are the skills and experience you have which match what they are asking for?
  4. Even if the job doesn’t appear on their website, follow the above and call them anyway – it could just be that new they haven’t yet put it on their site, or it means you won’t waste your time if the application has expired. Either way, they may well have other roles which you could be suitable for.
  5. Call the agency and if you don’t have a contact name, ask for the person dealing with job xyz
  6. If they aren’t available ask for their name and direct number and make a note to call them later.


Why bother?

  • It means you get a chance to get yourself known
  • It gives you a direct opportunity to demonstrate why you are suitable
  • You are likely to be given a direct email address to apply to rather than becoming another faceless forwarded email from a job site

YES it takes more time and effort, YES it might feel a bit scary, but this is about finding somewhere where you’re happy to spend A THIRD OF YOUR LIFE. Either that’s important to you or it’s not.


Don’t lose that personal connection when it comes to sending them your application either:

  • Use a subject line such as ‘Following our call re job xyz’ so the email stands out as someone they have already spoken to – make it easy for them.
  • Includes a few lines summary in the email reminding them how you meet the job description – you will be one of many phone calls they will have dealt with that day – help them remember you.
  • It goes without saying that you will be attaching a CV which has been reviewed and updated to align with the job description and highlight why you are a great fit for the role.


I learnt this the hard way. I once spent weeks submitting online applications and not once hearing back. It’s easy to get angry at the process but in reality I was being lazy. So one afternoon I decided to try something different. I spent a couple of hours listing the recruitment companies who were advertising the type of roles I was interested in, the contact names, their phone numbers. I then spent another few hours working my way through the list, calling each one, keeping a note of who I hadn’t managed to get hold of, returning voicemails from those I missed calls from, taking the time to actually build some connections. The result? I got invited to interview for a role a few days later.


We’ll look at how to apply for jobs advertised directly by companies (rather than through recruitment agencies) later. In the meantime…got any questions? Or additional tips to share? Help other job seekers out by posting them below.