Putting on a new hat, career-wise, is an educational opportunity that can drastically change your perspective. I’ve had several in my life-time: FOH Hotel Management, IT, Inn Keeper and for the last 15 years of being a Private Service Professional. It has the ability to educate and enlighten you to gain a better perspective on a variety of subjects. While it takes years to become an expert, it’s an eye-opener already on the first couple of tasks. Now that I have had the opportunity to play the role of placement agent, I wanted to provide some insights that I’ve learned.
When contacting an agency how should I start?
Follow the tips below in formulating your approach.
When you are reaching out to an agency you are setting the tone for how you will communicate with the potential Principal, at least it is from the agency’s perspective. Keep your emails short, sweet and to the point. Agencies get dozens of resumes every day (some agencies receive more), so they need a quick snapshot of what you are emailing them about in order to move on to the next step. Don’t make them dig for information, because if they have to dig too far, they will probably move on to the next email. All hiring managers are looking to whittle down the resumes to a few well-qualified people. Don’t fall into the 95% of resumes that are cut due to poor communication skills. And yes, 95% is an accurate number. Just ask Donna Shannon from Personal Touch Career Services.
- No information emails in which a candidate states, “Do you have any open positions?” or “What do you have available?” or “I’d like to be considered for a position”. Yes, those are real. They come directly from my inbox and they are usually ignored unless I’m bored, which is rare. If your email creates more questions than answers, you’ve officially reached the chopping block.
- TMI emails that contain a long diatribe of your life and experiences. While I do look forward to learning more about you, efficiency rules the day. I need to see if you match the skillsets for a/the position, then we can chat about your experiences. While this is far better than a “no information email”, it still runs the risk of putting you on the chopping block.
What to include in your first email:
- The position you are looking for: House Manager, Estate Manager, Personal Assistant, Housekeeper.
- Where you are. With phone numbers being as portable as they are these days, your area code isn’t a valid way of communicating your current location. I lived in Texas for 18 months before I changed from a 631 (NY) area code to a local 214 (Dallas) area code.
- Are you willing to relocate? If you are applying for a specific position, tell them why it would be a good idea to relocate you.
- What are your salary expectations?
Here is an example of what your email should look like:
Good Morning Mr. Lowrey,
I found a Household Manager position you have listed on EstateJobs.com and would like to be considered for the position (or I am currently looking for a new position as an Estate Manager). I currently live in Dallas, but would love to relocate to Baltimore. I have several friends that live on the eastern shore and have visited many times and fallen in love with the area. I also have family that live in Washington DC and NYC that would love to have me closer.
I have attached my resume for your review. In my last position, I was being paid $90,000 per year with annual bonuses that ranged from $10,000 – $15,000. My minimum salary requirement is $80,000.
I look forward to hearing back from you to schedule some time to chat about the position and how I can better position myself for the job.
Peter Van Ryder
Now you want an answer, let me be 100% honest here. If an agency does not have an active position for which you would be a fit, you may not hear back right away. This doesn’t mean that they are not listening, just that they have the task at hand to focus on.
Definitely follow up with the agency, but don’t be snarky. I have received impatient and snarky emails before, and they do one thing and one thing only, they prove to me that you do not have the patience or interpersonal acuity to work in this industry. What I do enjoy though (and try my best to respond to) are the texts or emails stating “Hi Peter, just checking in, I’m still looking. Hope you are well!”
Tip: Even if you have registered with the agency before for a different position, and you see a posting for a different position, send another email expressing your interest. Don’t forget to include most of the above information. Remember, you want to answer the agent’s questions with a single glance. This will put you ahead of others.
Remember that an agency is representing the interests of the principal and looking for the perfect fit for idiosyncrasies. A good agency evaluates everything from how you follow directions/instructions to how you have formatted your resume and how you respond to emails.
If you are rusty on your interview skills (or you need your resume updated or polished), I recommend contacting Donna Shannon from Personal Touch Career Services. When an agency is conducting interviews, they are looking for positives and negatives. Positives are items such as clear communication and direct answers to the questions. Negatives can include long run-on stories that don’t directly answer the question asked. A major negative is principal name-dropping. Discretion is at the core of everything we do, so it is important to prove that you’re capable of maintaining it.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I mentioned it above, but it’s important to remember that an agency is evaluating you from the first contact. If you see a posting that you believe you are qualified for, make sure to read the entire posting. I’ve seen many LinkedIn postings for jobs that state “email your resume to [email protected] to be considered” only to see people post in the comment section that they are interested, or request their profile be reviewed. You have failed step one on there. If you can’t follow basic instructions, why would I trust you to follow instructions given by the Principal?