When looking for a job, many senior-level professionals want to enlist the services of an executive recruiter. Most have been contacted “out of the blue” when happily employed, but are unsure of how to connect with a headhunter when they are ready to actively search for a new position. Plus, whether working on retainer or contingency, the recruiter is focused on the needs of the organization, not the candidate.

Still, with 15-20% of jobs found through recruiters (even more for executives), it’s a strategy worth using. Below are some of the most effective ways get in touch with recruiters who are sourcing for your target job.

1)Use a reputable recruiter distribution service: This is one of the easiest, fastest ways to get your resume/executive profile in front of hundreds (or even thousands!) of recruiters searching for candidates in your field. To make the most of this method, use a service that lets you choose the recruiters’ industry and function.

2)Connect on LinkedIn: Type in keywords such as “executive recruiter association,” and “executive recruiter finance,” to see which industry headhunters are already in your network. If they’re a second or third connection, see if you can get introduced by a mutual contact. Interacting in industry groups is another place to identify recruiters. If you’re both members, you can send an invite and message without needing a mutual connection.

3)Reconnect with recruiters: If you’ve been contacted in the past, follow up with the people that called you and let them know you’re now actively searching. Don’t make this a one-time call. Stay top of mind by regularly checking in to let the recruiter know you’re still interested.

However you establish the relationship, treat the recruiter as you would another networking contact. Share leads (whether candidates or companies), email articles of interest, or even just check in by phone every few weeks. The job seekers who remember to focus on the “give” in this give and take relationship are more likely to find an ally in recruiters that can help them both now and throughout their career.

Author's Bio: 

Charlotte Weeks, CCMC, NCRW, CPRW is an executive career coach and executive resume writer. She has a background in human resources and is president of The National Resume Writers’ Association. Ms. Weeks specializes in association executives, providing them with all the tools necessary to succeed in their careers. She is the author of the upcoming book “I Want a Job in an Association, Now What?? A Guide to Getting a Job in a Professional Association, Membership Organization, or Society.” For details and to get the special report “How to Answer the Five Most Difficult Interview Questions,” visit www.weekscareerservices.com