The decision to post your resume to job boards and apply for jobs the "old-fashioned way" or to use a headhunter to find a job for you can be a tough one. Headhunters, also called executive recruiters, tend to work for high-profile positions. They have excellent access to employers and other resources, but some companies shy away from using headhunters because the hiring company has to pay a percentage of the negotiated salary as a finder's fee. Deciding which route is right for you depends on the type of job you are seeking, your qualifications and your personality.
Polish That Resume
Whether you want to use a headhunter or apply for jobs yourself, you need a sharp, polished resume. In many ways, especially in the early steps, headhunters work similarly to job recruiters and human resources departments. Headhunters may decide whether you're a good candidate based on a quick glance at your resume. So, just as your resume needs to stand out for a job application, it needs to stand out for a headhunter. Make sure your resume is short and concise, and consider including an executive summary at the top that highlights the most important information in the resume and what makes you unique.
Using a headhunter will give you a few advantages over simply posting your resume online. Headhunters have an inside track with corporations and know about job openings that may never be listed online and that you would never find out about otherwise. Being represented by a headhunter is like skipping over several networking steps. As an added bonus, once a headhunter is interested in you, she may give you advice on enhancing your resume or on how to dress for an interview. She'll help you have the best chance possible of landing the job because once you land the job, she will get paid.
Headhunters don't work for you, they work for the employers they are hiring for. So they may not tell you why you weren't chosen for a job or why they decided not to schedule you for an interview. To find a compatible headhunter, you may have to use online searches to find different executive search agencies, look for names of agencies under job postings that you're interested in, socialize and make professional comments on business social networks and attend in-person networking events. Sometimes finding a headhunter can take just as much energy as finding a job.
Use Both Methods
If you're trying to decide between posting a resume or finding a headhunter, cover all your bases and do both. Jim Wang, founder of Bargaineering, a personal finance blog, suggests that even when you've found a headhunter to work with, you should continue to look for jobs yourself. Headhunters will pick you because you fit in a pool of jobs they're already seeking; continue searching on your own so you can find new job pools. Until you sign a job offer, don't quit your own search - don't put all your job hopes in one basket.
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images