For every job advertised, there are hundreds of candidates who are fighting for the same spot. While you may think you are the perfect fit for that position, those other applicants believe they are better than you. You need something to help you stand out from the rest. Something that puts you in front of that hiring manager and says, “You need to hire me. Now!”

Having a good recruiter in your back pocket can set you apart from the pack. Below are 6 key reasons why working with a recruiter will put you at the head of the class.

1. Direct contact with a hiring manager.

Recruiters spend their careers building relationships with the people decide the fate of your future employment. They devote that time to learning what not only makes someone a good fit technically, but also culturally. They can tip you off to talk about football because the hiring manager is a huge Giants fan. By the time your first phone call with a recruiter is over you know if you have what it takes to be the company’s next employee and how to use that to your advantage.

2. Recruiters know the “ins and outs” of the job description.

When you review a job description what are you doing first? Identifying if you match the bullet points advertised. You read the first seven bullets and think, “Well I match five of them so I should be perfect!” Unfortunately for you, those two you didn’t match are actually the most important for the job. Don’t get lost in the job description wish list. A good recruiter will know what areas of the job description are most important to the person you’ll be working for, and which ones are secondary.

3. Provide Career Advice

Recruiting is much like a batting average. Success is determined by failing more than winning. Recruiters know what a bad interview looks like, and how it can be prevented. If you are an average job seeker, chances are you’re only interviewing with 3-4 companies. That means you have a few shots to be the best. Working with a recruiter gives you the chance to learn from other’s mistakes. Spending 10 minutes with a recruiter will help you figure out what makes a job applicant attractive to hiring managers saving you hours of wasted interviewing time.

4. Up Front Honesty

The fact is that companies usually don’t tell you why you are not getting the job. They want you to believe that there was a “better applicant” or they ignore you completely. Hiring managers aren’t afraid to tell recruiters the real deal because it spares them from breaking the news to the applicant and hearing any backlash or worse, disappointment. Recruiters aren’t afraid to tell the candidate this information because ultimately they are not the ones who feel this way. It’s not fun, but a good recruiter will give you the black and white truth to provide as much clarity, closure and coaching for the future.

5. Interview Preparation

The average job seeker is not an expert at interviewing, at least they probably shouldn’t be! Recruiters, on the other hand, make a living off of interviews. They know if the hiring manager prefers someone who dresses down, shows up 15 minutes early and has a very firm handshake. This knowledge is pivotal in this day and age of job searching. I’ve seen a candidate lose out on a Vice President position for not knowing how much stake the company held in a post-interview thank you note. Working with a recruiter gives you inside knowledge and tips on how to stand out from the rest of the applicants

6. CV Assistance

If you are like most professionals you have acquired a multitude of different skill sets throughout your career. Although it would be nice to label all of it, there just isn’t enough room and no hiring manager will read a 15 page CV. Even the best writers can use a leg up sometimes. Recruiters know what each manager views as most important to see clearly on the CV. They will ensure that the first thing the hiring manager reads is the exact experience they are looking for in the perfect candidate.

Working with a recruiter will get you closer to your dream job by separating you from the herd, but don’t just work with the first recruiter who calls! Understand their market, clients and industry.. The recruiter/ candidate relationship should be one of understanding what the two of you can do for one another. Like every partnership, a good match makes for a good life.