How to Lead a Headhunter to Your Head

Be good at what you do and be visible doing it.

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Outside Voices - ''Working Girl'' aka Karen Burns
Need a job? A headhunter may be your answer. But how do you get your head hunted?

It's simple but not easy: The way to find a good headhunter is to put yourself in places where headhunters will find you.

Headhunters don't exist to get you a job. You as a job-hunter can't hire a headhunter. Headhunters work for employers—it's important to remember that's where their paycheck comes from and that's where their loyalties lie. Many headhunters won't even take calls from job applicants.

All this means that not only do you need to be good at what you do, you need to be visible while doing it. How can headhunters know how wonderful you are if they don't even realize that you exist?

Fortunately, being visible is not difficult. Some ideas:

  • Get active in your professional or trade association.
    • Network at industry events and conferences.
      • Write articles about subjects in your field and publish them in business journals and on websites.
        • Start a blog or E-mail newsletter.
          • Start your own breakfast networking group.
            • Be available for media interviews.
              • Volunteer to speak at luncheons and seminars.
                • Get active in a high-profile charity.
                  • When you accomplish anything (win an award, get promoted) make it known.
                    • Widen your circle of acquaintances, both personal and professional.
                      • Be good at what you do and be visible doing it. That's the plain and simple key to getting your head hunted.
                      • Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at


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