How to Climb The Recruitment Career Ladder

Your current employer wants you to be successful. Fairly obviously, the more successful you are, the more they are. But I’m going to drop a bit of a bombshell on you. Jobs for life don’t exist any more.

There’s definitely a correlation between recruiters who stay in a business for a decent length of time and consistently high billings.

But if you think this is the last job you’ll ever have, you’re mistaken.

You might be best of friends with your current boss. They might come to your wedding. You might have even been mates before this job or perhaps they’re a Godparent to your first born. If you think that means they’ll be delighted when you move on, you’re mistaken again.

A job is a transaction.

You’re offering your time and a financial tribute to your employer. That tribute in recruitment is probably in the hundreds of thousands, per year. But, by the nature of recruitment, you’re not paid that much. In reward for your efforts, you’re offered stability. An office. Infrastructure. Support. A team. Mentorship. Commission. And many other things.

Some time in the future, one of you will decide the transaction’s just not working out. Or maybe there’s a better one on the table.

Therefore it’s hugely important to make sure you’re in charge of your own career. And here’s how you do it.

1. Plan

Ask anyone in the industry and they’ll say being a Recruitment Consultant is like running a business, within a business.

You know this. It’s why that entrepreneurial streak’s got you this far. And yet, I’d guess the vast amount of recruiters who read this article don’t have a business plan.

You may have business plan for the next 12 months. You may have. But I’d bet it’s not fully written, detailed with a SWOT analysis. If you were going to start on your own, you’d have one. So why not now? And let’s say you do have one. Let’s say you’ve got everything in order to maximise your time in this business. What happens next?

To fully reach your potential in your overarching career planning’s the best thing you can do. Know things will change. You’ll have to alter timescales and goals periodically. But having targets to achieve will do wonders for your enthusiasm and mindset in the short and long-term.

Make a business plan. Keep it on your phone. And then tick off the small goals one by one. Eradicating any factor of your life that hinders your progress.

2. Lead

Whether you’re planning to stay in one business for the foreseeable or are moving jobs imminently, you’ll be offered opportunities to lead as you naturally progress in your career. In recruitment, this is an extremely viable method of moving up the ladder.

You don’t have to lead a team either. It might just be you’re a Principal Consultant that people look up to, rather than work for. But you’re still leading. If you do get a chance to lead a team and feel as though it’s something you’d be good at, there’s a lot of reward to be had.

And only some of that’s financial.

If you’re a Recruiter, you may want to run your own company one day. Leading a team in your current agency will give you a taste of how that feels. Only, you’ll have support and mentorship from others to assist your learning. Not everyone can manage. And that’s OK. Equally, there’s not a one-size-fits all approach.

Each person needs to be managed differently. Know that and you’ll learn a lot about yourself and your own capabilities for moving on with your career.

3. Be Your Own Brand

Recruitment’s a different game to 20 years ago. Back then a large business not only had the benefit of a well known name. They had a database full to the brim of candidates and clients. So your personal name was less important.

LinkedIn wasn’t massive. Social media wasn’t even a thing.

Now, it is.

And your name’s more important than saying you work for one of the best known agencies in the world. If you’re visible, credible and can articulate your own personal skill in any profession, your stock will rise above that of your employer. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Every employer wants somebody in their business who takes initiative and blazes a trail.

Be that person and you’ll never have to job search again. Start a blog. A newsletter. A social profile online. Be recognised for what you contribute. Not who you work for.


4. Stand up for yourself

Recruitment’s full of big characters. I’d imagine you could look around the room right now and pick out someone who’s more boisterous, loud, energetic and packs a bigger punch.

That’s life.

There’ll always be someone louder than you. But that doesn’t mean you need to be a wallflower. Because whether it’s in recruitment or life in general, no one will stand up for you if you don’t do it for yourself. You need to fight your corner. Be that in asserting a higher percentage than your less able competitor down the road, a performance review with your Manager, or simply the morning meeting.

5. Network

In a way, this point should be number one. But, this article’s not done in weighting of importance. Because all of these points are as important as the others. You already know you need to network in your job. That’s how you win over clients and candidates with your razor sharp wit, right?

Well, as crucial as that is, you need to win friends outside of your immediate network. Reach out to people. And not just on LinkedIn. Ask someone to be your Mentor. Go outside of your comfort zone and simply talk. You’re good at that, you speak to people you don’t know every day.

Imagine if you were made redundant this very second. What’s the first thing you’d do? If that action is put your CV on a job board, you’re going to struggle to advance your career. If however you could just scroll through your phone book or, better still, recent messages, you’re doing something right.

6. Find your voice

This point’s as much about social media along with real life.

Once you get to a certain point in your life, you become comfortable with who you are. You know your strengths. Accept your weaknesses. And know that you won’t be best friends with everyone who crosses your path.

This might have come when you were 17 or it might just be dawning on you. But there’s an incredible amount of confidence from reaching this stage. And the way to speed this process up is self evaluation. Not simply, why this deal or that deal didn’t happen. But looking at longer periods or certain situations to think about how you could have handled things better.

Then working on these things to make sure you’re fine tuning your own capabilities. This will improve your career but also your life in general.

Find your voice and people will start to listen to it. Whether they’re Managers, subordinates, your team, friends or parents.

7. Offer Support

Whatever knowledge and experience you have, you know more than others. And remembering your own rise to being the great person you are now will mean you’re aware it can be difficult.

If anyone needs your help, be quick to offer it. Take time out of your day and personal time to help others around you. Not only will they pay back this service, but you’ll become someone people gravitate towards. You’ll be known as someone who actually cares about others.

Not someone who’s simply in it for themselves. Your career will benefit immeasurably because of it and your rise up the career ladder will come all the more quickly.

For more career advice you can watch on your commute… click here.