Grabbing a headhunter's attention

Interviewed by Telis Demos, contributor

(Fortune) -- It's a wonderful thought: that someone might just call you up and end your job-search woes forever.

But the most important thing you need to know about recruiters, says Les Berglass, founder of Berglass & Associates, is that they love confidence. If you try too hard to get their attention, they won't be interested. If someone else recommends you, it's another story. But Berglass, a veteran recruiter, says there are ways to boost your chances. Here are a few.

Les Berglass, founder of Berglass & Associates, has placed C-Suite execs at Victoria's Secret and Land's End, among other places.

Don't call us...

It doesn't help. Understand that we work for the corporation, not the candidate. In my 27 years as a recruiter, I can count on one hand the number of unsolicited résumés that have ended up as candidates.

It's like winning the lottery. If you're absolutely dying to get in front of a recruiter, you might try going to an industry conference in your field. It costs a little bit of money, but it shows you're serious.

Do network

Go through your contacts, decide who you can trust and who owes you a favor, and ask them if they know any recruiters.

The best way to get on my radar is through a recommendation. Talk with people more senior than you who have recently been recruited. If you're out of work, ask about consulting gigs to keep your name in the game.

Get online, get quoted

LinkedIn is pretty much the central marketplace these days. A lot of recruiters are addicted to it, and the industry is evolving around it. We rarely look at Twitter or blogs for candidates, but I do read Women's Wear Daily religiously and have made Yahoo's retail news channel my browser's homepage. Our firm even tracks name mentions in those publications.

So talk to your press contacts. Every recruiter reads his industry's trade publications. Getting quoted is a great way to get your name out there and gain credibility.  To top of page

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