Next move: How can I get spotted by headhunters?

I am an unemployed IT professional with four years' experience. I worked as an analyst programmer but I am having difficulty in...

I am an unemployed IT professional with four years' experience. I worked as an analyst programmer but I am having difficulty in getting a new job. In Computer Weekly on 16 March I read that headhunters are looking for IT staff at all levels. How can I make sure I get spotted by these headhunters?

The solution

Get someone to recommend you
Headhunters will find applicants at different levels through different methods. The traditional image of a headhunter is of someone carrying out search assignments for high-profile positions, and perhaps this image has caused confusion.

At a more technical level, particularly for people in your position, you will be dealing mostly with recruitment consultants who work partly on a contingency basis and partly on a search, or headhunting, basis.

This means that as you are not currently employed, and therefore cannot be "spotted" within a company, you will almost certainly need to take a more proactive approach to finding work and contact the headhunters yourself.

You can do this either by sending your CV speculatively to recruiters, responding to adverts, attending recruitment fairs and speaking with recruiters or by asking industry friends and colleagues to mention you to any headhunters or recruiters they are in contact with.

This last method is an excellent way of getting your name and experience in front of recruiters who are looking for candidates - recruiters and headhunters always welcome recommendations and will be more inclined to contact you when you come with a reference from someone they know already. 

Solution by Grant Seidner, operations manager at Reed Technology

The panel: MSB International, Spring Group, E-Skills UK, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology.

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This was last published in June 2004

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