Why Have Headhunters Stopped Calling Me?
By Anne Fisher

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Dear Annie: In my former job as a senior marketing executive at a major consumer-goods company, I constantly received calls from headhunters. I recently took "early retirement" (not voluntarily), and now that I want recruiters to notice me, I can't get their attention. I've mailed out dozens of résumés, many of them to people who had contacted me before, and still have heard nothing. Any thoughts? -- Big Dan

Dear Dan: Ah. Mailing your résumé is probably where you've gone wrong, according to Eileen Foley, a senior vice president at Boston-based executive-development firm ClearRock. She spent 15 years as a headhunter and now specializes in coaching managers on the care and feeding of same. "The vast majority of recruiters prefer résumés sent as a Microsoft Word attachment," says Foley. "You can also paste a text version into an e-mail, which they can then add to their databases. But sending your résumé via snail mail is futile." Why? Most recruiters send résumés to their clients electronically, so anything on paper is likely to get tossed.

After you've e-mailed, follow up by phone within a few days. "Calling can often make the difference in whether a candidate gets an interview right away," Foley says. She also recommends that you call again in six to eight weeks, just to refresh the headhunter's memory, and inquire whether you're still in the database. One other tip: Avoid posting your résumé on job boards, since "recruiters are best able to place candidates who cannot be found through other sources."

Send questions to askannie@fortunemail.com. Annie offers advice weekly at www.askannie.com.