Should a Recent Grad Use a Recruiter?

It’s been nearly one year since I graduated and took my first look at the real world. What I remember most is not how sad I was to be leaving the people and place that had become my home, but how scared I was to be leaving without a job offer in hand. Everybody has a few friends that received a full time offer from their internship or knew they’d go right back to school to get ready for the CPA Exam, or whatever it is people that aren’t burnt out after 16 years of school do. While it feels like you’re the only one without a plan just remember that this is never the case.

If you’re looking to speed things up, consider working with a recruiter. Before you make a face or write them off as overbearing and not able to offer you a ‘good’ job that matches your interests, take note that recruiting is undergoing some change as an industry. With so many companies that focus on a niche field and/or region, getting to know a recruiter now could benefit your career path for years to come, simply because:

  • Recruiters want to find you a job you’ll love and get an offer for
  • The assistance from a recruiter is like having a mentor, networking advisor, and cheerleader wrapped up into one
  • Most of the time, a recruiter will have a contact within companies you may be interested in and can access information that stalking their LinkedIn page won’t yield
    • For example, some companies work very closely with an agency and will share new jobs with them in hopes that good candidates are brought in for the role instead of having every nervous person on the job hunt submit their strangely formatted resume through
  • Recruiters will know if a job is going to be available soon and what the hiring team is searching for (other than a Bachelor’s and long list of skills that make you feel as though you aren’t even qualified enough to be the intern’s part time assistant)
  • Feeling like you’re “in” with a company is a great confidence boost, too
    • Your new friend that helped schedule the interview for you is brimming with tips on how to dress for the office culture, who you will be meeting and what they will most likely want to talk to you about,
  • Recruiters will build your self-assurance much more than generic meetings with your university’s career center could

If these small bits of what a recruiter will do for you isn’t enough of a reason to connect with one, then maybe the bad news of job searching will convince you that it could be a good idea.

Job Application (2)

There are plenty of statistics out there to remind you that no matter how many times you revise your resume, how carefully you craft your emails, what GPA you received, and how many clubs you held a leadership position in, you will apply to more jobs than you care to count and hear back from just a handful – and that’s if you’re lucky. The entry level job market might have a lower unemployment rate compared to five years ago, but the number of new grads fighting for those spots is only going up. If you choose to work with a recruiter it will not magically make these obstacles disappear but it will be able to help you break some down. Recruiters will be honest with you no matter the situation:

  • Really wanted to apply to a certain job? Your recruiter will tell you if you could even bring something to the table at this point in time.
  • Applied and got presented but were not asked to set up an interview? Recruiters will share with you why that choice was made.
  • Did manage to score an interview but are not advancing in the process? Any feedback from the person who interviewed you will now be made for sharing with you.

While it’s not always comfortable to have somebody tell you that you weren’t impressive or skilled enough, at least you know how to improve next time and are not left wondering what happened. Feeling passionate about a role that just didn’t play out as you anticipated? Your recruiter will understand that and begin working harder to find something even more exciting and help you get back on track. These are situations that nobody wants to go through, but wouldn’t going through them with some guidance be preferable to by yourself and feeling even more lost or confused? If you think yes, then it is definitely a good idea to consider a new search for recruiters near you or the city that you want to work in.


I know what you’re thinking by this point, “she is insisting on working with a recruiter because it’s her job,” to which I would say not exactly. Back to where I was a year ago I wish that I had been more open to the idea of reaching out to somebody.  I thought that I could do it all on my own, as independence throughout my undergrad years was something I had become proud of. Not to mention that I was pretty sure I wanted to find a job that matched my degree. But even going off of that I had no idea where to start or what skills of mine to focus on. Particularly for students in IT, finance, and other business concentrations, recruiters are constantly looking for the best new jobs and for somebody talented to place there for the most money possible. Somebody that actually considers your skills, what you want to do, AND wants to make sure you are paid well? Crazy, I know. But like I mentioned before, times have changed and recruiting methods have as well. With a quality recruiter, long gone are the spam emails that incorrectly add your name to the message that has been seen by half of your graduating class. Instead, a person that makes you feel as smart as you should after earning that ridiculously priced piece of paper is just trying to form a relationship that could turn out to be mutually beneficial for years to come.

So, think that at least testing the waters with a recruiter might be a decent option? Go for it! Remember that they’re people too and they’re in the business of helping people. Meaning it is more likely than not that they would love to hear from you! Even if you want to continue seeing what is out there on your own or the firm that you reach out to doesn’t have anything that matches your background right now, you never know what the future holds. If like many new grads you wind up in a 9-5 cubicle job just for the dreaded paycheck-to-loan-payment security, your new recruiter friend could give you a buzz at any time with a great new opportunity that is actually enjoyable. You made it through at least four years of college and that itself is arguably some of the most unpredictable times of your life. Don’t let your professional life be unpredictable as well.