How do I remain top-of-mind with recruiters and headhunters without overdoing things?

Getting and staying on a headhunter's radar is a vital skill for any job seeker.

Getting and staying on a headhunter's radar is a vital skill for any job seeker. If a candidate has been “presented” by a headhunter on a search – whether it means that he or she has actually gone in for an interview or just been discussed by the headhunter with the client company – the candidate has every right to expect feedback from the headhunter.

It's less realistic, though, to expect a headhunter to call back everyone who wants to introduce themselves, touch base, or seek career advice. Headhunters and recruiters need a broad network of contacts, but they must first focus on finding people with the skills required to fill specific jobs. Right or wrong, sometimes they block out all else.

It's fine to send an e-mail every few weeks to recruiters you know or want to know. Keep it short, use humor, work in career objectives, and don't ask for a response. If you have news, certainly add it.

Headhunters appreciate friendly reminders, especially if there are no strings attached. If you use this approach, odds are you will be top-of-mind when a job that fits your skills comes along.

Jean Allen is a partner at Exchange Place Partners.

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