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How to Be Found and Prized by Headhunters

Arnie Fertig

Have you wondered: "How can I get a headhunter to pay attention to me and get me in front of their clients?"

If you want to work with a recruiter, your job is to understand the nature of a recruiter's role and their company. It will likely be far more productive for you to spend your time doing your homework and building relationships with a few key recruiters than distributing your resume far and wide hoping that somehow, somewhere, it will stick. Aside from scattering your resume to the winds, there are two key ways that recruiters find you:

-- Networking. Recruiters network like crazy, both in person and online. They attend industry conventions and events. They scour social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. They are constantly about building relationships, because they understand that over the long term, it is relationships that will produce access to the best and the brightest in any field. And these are the people they will have the greatest interest in placing before their clients. If you want to be found, go to where the headhunters hunt.

-- Referrals. It means a great deal to a recruiter if someone they already know and trust recommends you, because that person is vouching for the value you bring. Some recruiters have instituted referral programs that will reward people who bring to their attention a candidate they ultimately place. These are similar to the employee referral programs that companies often utilize.

Susie Hall, president of recruiting company Vitamin T, advises job hunters to remember: "Recruiters are people, too. Just like you, they relish compliments and value people who treat them respectfully." She continues: "It is a 'wow' for a recruiter if you approach them saying, 'I love your website' rather than 'I'd be a good fit for this job.'"

Hall offers several valuable tips for job hunters:

-- Connect online. A lot of recruiting these days is digital. "Candidates don't think to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn. Look there for areas of commonality, such as your school or degree," she says.

-- LinkedIn profile. It is important to make sure you put your accomplishments into your profile, at the top.

-- How to add LinkedIn connections. When you invite someone to Linkup with you, don't use the standard boilerplate. Instead, give that person a reason to connect with you. Boilerplate does nothing to build a relationship.

-- Resume branding statement. At the very top, explain in a branding statement or qualification summary: "I'm good at this ? and this is why you should care," she says. Demonstrating your value is key to making it easy for a hiring manager to understand how you fit into a given job.

-- Using keywords. Keywords on resumes still count. But rather than just amassing them in some large block of text, use them throughout the document to describe what and how you accomplished whatever it is that you accomplished.

-- Resume format. For each position, ideally provide one sentence about your role and three bullet points about your accomplishments. Stop putting "was responsible for" in your bullet points. Tell what you did, why you did it, and what the benefit was of what you did for your employer.

-- Utilize Twitter. Twitter is not leveraged enough in the recruiting process. Reach out to people and follow recruiters, hiring mangers, and companies in which you have an interest. One way you can show your passion is by following people who work for the company you want to work for. An amazing amount of information is being tweeted that you are likely missing. Hiring managers are active on Twitter, and they love to hear that their company is wonderful.

As a job hunter, you should have several means by which you go about your search process. Recruiters are just one of them, but their insights can serve to guide you to achieving success in the New Year.

Happy hunting!

Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM, where he utilizes his extensive background in HR Staffing and as owner of a recruiting company to help mid-career job-hunters land their next job. Arnie provides one-to-one coaching services to individuals throughout the U.S. in all aspects of the job hunt, including: resume writing, personal branding, utilizing social media, enhancing networking skills, preparing for interviews, and negotiating compensation.

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