As a recent graduate or school leaver stepping into the corporate world, especially in the finance sector, finding the right job can seem daunting.

Applying directly through company portals might look like an easy option for school leavers and graduates eager to submit their applications. However, using a company portal does not include the priceless inside information and support of an employment agency.

This blog post explains the application processes that graduates and school leavers might not be aware of. We will highlight the risks to look out for, so job seekers have the best chance of securing their dream role.

Advantages of Using Employment Agencies

Employment agencies act as intermediaries between job seekers and employers. These agencies work with multiple companies to fill various roles and provide support to candidates throughout the job application process.

An agency can make sure that you match what the company is looking for as they have that all-important insider information on how the company operates, the nitty gritty details of the role and culture.

When a job seeker uses an employment agency, their CV can be analysed and reviewed by experts, with opportunities for editing and adjusting the CV to optimise for the role. This is invaluable for graduates and school leavers who will have less experience in this area.

Graduates and school leavers also have access to the following benefits to increase their chances of landing the perfect job for them:

  1. Expert Guidance: Agencies offer personalised career advice, CV building tips, and interview preparation, helping you present your best self to potential employers.
  2. Access to Exclusive Opportunities: Agencies often have access to job vacancies that are not advertised publicly, providing you with more opportunities.
  3. Streamlined Process: Employment agencies handle the administrative side of the job application process, saving you time and effort.
  4. Tailored Job Matching: Agencies use their industry knowledge to match you with roles that fit your skills, qualifications, and career aspirations, increasing your chances of finding a suitable position.
  5. Agencies have a finger on the pulse of the job market. They understand industry trends, salary expectations, and the types of skills that are in demand. This knowledge can be invaluable when making career decisions, ensuring you are well-informed and competitive.
  6. Employment agencies are motivated to place you in roles where you will succeed, as their reputation depends on it: They strive to ensure a good match between the candidate and the employer, which can lead to increased job security and satisfaction for you.

Drawbacks of Using Company Portals

Applying directly to roles through company portals does not offer a job seeker any vital support with their application.

There is only one chance for the candidate to submit their cover letter, CV and any supporting documentation. This could be precarious for job applicants leading to missed opportunities and uncertainty.

  1. Limited Guidance: Unlike agencies, company portals do not provide personalised support or career advice. This includes interview coaching, general guidance on presentation skills, etiquette and confidence boosting!
  2. Time-Consuming: Managing multiple applications across different company portals can be time-consuming and requires meticulous organisation. An employment agency is adept at managing the process and can handle the majority of the paperwork, organisation and communications. (Although you will need to complete the interview yourself of course!)

Beware of Automated Screening

If you are less experienced in the process of applying for jobs, you might not have heard of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which is software that manages the application and screening process for the business.

Most company portals use an ATS to manage applications. The ATS scans and parses submitted CVs for keywords related to the job description, skills, experience, and qualifications.

Ranking and Filtering: The ATS ranks candidates based on keyword matches, and may filter out applications that do not meet the minimum criteria, such as specific skills, years of experience, or educational background.  Graduates and school leavers could be deprived of potential opportunities because of this.

But don’t worry, this is where an employment agency can help as they will optimise your application documents for you. Your CV will be reviewed by an experienced human and sent to the HR manager and relevant parties at the company for the positions that are a perfect match.


Ability Plus provide personalised support, including CV optimisation, interview preparation, and career advice, enhancing a graduate’s or school leaver’s chances of success.

Agencies also understand the specific needs and cultures of the companies they work with, allowing them to match candidates more accurately to suitable roles.

Additionally, they save candidates time and effort by handling much of the job search process, including follow-ups and administrative tasks, which can overwhelm job seekers especially if they’re applying for their first full time role.

Get in touch with Ability Plus for support for graduates and school leavers. We are experienced in helping young people who are new to job seeking and need a guiding hand to kick start their career plans.

Telephone 01624 662165 or email for personalised support.

Anne Hanna ‐ June 21, 2024