Make yourself and your accomplishments more visible to attract headhunters — and that next great job.

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As everyone knows by now, we are all in charge of managing our own careers.

Gone are the days when you could join a company straight out of college or high school and stay there until someone handed you a shiny gold watch some 40 years later. No, nowadays we need to be eternally on the lookout for that next job, even when we are perfectly happy with the one we have.

So wouldn’t it be nice if someone took on this task for you? If that next opportunity simply knocked on your door and all you had to do was say yay or nay?

That’s sort of what happens when you are headhunted. Your phone rings and the person on the other end pitches an exciting new job to you.

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If headhunters are the norm in your career or industry, it may be worth thinking about what you need to do to, in effect, have your head hunted.

The first thing to know is that you yourself can’t hire a headhunter. Many headhunters won’t even take calls from job seekers. Headhunters work for employers — that’s where their paycheck comes from and where their loyalties lie. The secret, therefore, to getting your head hunted is to position yourself so that headhunters will find you.

How? First, you need to be very good at what you do, of course. Second, and maybe even more important, you need to be visible while doing it. How can headhunters know how great you are if they don’t know you exist?

Fortunately, visibility is an attainable goal. Here are a few doable tips:

  • Become active in your professional or trade association. Head up a committee. Volunteer to organize an event.
  • Publish articles about your field in local newspapers, business journals, or on websites.
  • Curate your online presence. Update your profiles regularly (awards, promotions, publications, new degrees and certifications, etc.). Consider starting a blog, email newsletter, or Twitter account. Make sure that nothing online reflects poorly on you.
  • Join a breakfast networking group, or start your own.
  • Volunteer to be the featured speaker at luncheons and seminars.

Most of all, maintain a wide circle of acquaintances, both personal and professional. That’s the simple, first key to visibility.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at