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Emailing Headhunters: Dos and Don’ts

A headhunter who can serve as your biggest advocate and ticket to the best jobs in your target industry can mean the difference between your job search getting measured in weeks vs. months (vs. years, in the worst-case scenarios). Once you get in touch with and partner with one (or several) recruiters, email communication is likely the easiest way to interact.  Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you maximize productivity in your coming search.

Headhunter Dos and Don'ts (Photo: iStockphoto)

Do provide a clear picture of the job you want
Headhunters can only help you if you help them first. The clearer and more concise you can be about the role you want, the more they will be likely to help you. Saying “I want a high-paying job in media” is very different from saying “I am looking for a senior director business development role in television media focused on internal M&A.”

Don’t rely on just one recruiter
You should have several headhunters working job listings on your behalf. It can be hit or miss with a lot of headhunters, whose inventory can depend on their own relationships coming through with opportunities. By enlisting a bigger number of headhunters, you will give yourself increased opportunities to learn about more openings. Make sure you keep track of the headhunters you are working with to remain organized.

Do respond quickly to any email you get from a headhunter
Headhunters need to know that you can be reached at a moment’s notice to schedule an interview or informational session and that you are generally on top of your game. The quicker you can respond the better; your response time can influence your standing with a headhunter as the candidate he or she is likely to prioritize.

Don’t neglect to keep checking in on your team of headhunters
Moreover, don’t be shy about moving on from one headhunter to another. Make it a point to keep all your headhunters abreast of what you are doing and what your needs are on an ongoing basis. You don’t want to contact them daily – that would be annoying. Keeping in contact about every 10 days will keep you fresh in their minds and make sure that all of your bases are covered.

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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