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I receive many e-mails requesting advice on how to find a headhunter. My answer is the headhunter must find you. One of the best ways is to be referred to them as a qualified candidate. Become a source buddy for several people within your company or industry.

Form a networking alliance and agree to refer each other to recruiters when they call. This is a great method to get your name in front of a recruiter for a current opportunity and get into their database for future searches. You will have instant credibility being referred to a search firm rather than cold calling for opportunities. Recruiters view cold callers as needy candidates with implications they are not of the best quality. Do your best to get a warm referral to a headhunter.

Friends and family is not that cellular phone calling plan where you can place phone calls cheaply to people you designate as such. Friends and family networking are the people totally unrelated to your work background. Make a list of all your contacts outside of your business life.

Do you know the name of your neighbor that lives three houses down your street? Do you know her occupation or job title? Sometimes a valuable contact might have a child at your day care center. How about the kids soccer game? Do you mingle with the singles? Someone in your church or synagogue groups? You must make the effort to keep these contacts alive and viable. Make it a point to find reasons to follow-up on casual meetings. Make a value judgement on who might be of help later.

It is impossible to follow-up on all contacts. You must pick and choose the best for you. I wish I could tell you how to pick the best. My suggestion is to play the numbers. By making many personal contacts, you let the law of averages take over and out of the many your will find a few that will help you.

You must think I’m nuts! You say: "I would like someone to buy me dinner." Don’t panic. As you read on, I will explain the immense benefits for you.

Make a list of the most successful business people you know. Who has the most money? Who has achieved a position of power? Who’s advice do you respect? These are not casual acquaintances, but people that you know and trust. Choose the number one person on your list and invite them to dinner. Be clear to state up-front that you are buying and it is 100% your treat. Pick one of the best restaurants in town. Do not go mid-scale, casual dining, instead, buy the best. Arrange to pick them up, if necessary.

Once seated, start them talking. Ask, ask, ask questions. Keep them talking. One success tip or business idea dropped in your lap could change your life. Their real world advice can change the way you achieve success. One secret revealed can shift your paradigm and change the direction of your life. How did you do it? What is your secret? What path should I take? What is the best advice you ever received? What is your best advice for me? What should I do next? What are the best opportunities for me? Keep asking!

Order an eight-course meal and take it slow. Add dessert and four cups of coffee. By the end of the night, you should have some new insight on what it takes to succeed. You will be paid back many times over the cost of dinner.

Dear Headhunter,
I am currently looking for a job. My husband is from another country and he wants to visit his family for two weeks. Since we booked the trip before I realized I’d be job hunting, how would you suggest I approach this in an interview?
Thank You, - J.M.

Dear JM,
Do not mention your vacation plans during your interviews. When you receive a job offer and decide to accept it that is the time to discuss your pre-paid trip and explain the family circumstances and the costs to cancel. Tell the employer that you are ready to start your new job at once and you are willing to take the time off without pay. Most employers will be okay with that proposal. I hope this helps. - George

Dear Headhunter,
I’m currently in a very difficult predicament in that I have been out of work for one year now and I’ve exhausted every means of finding a job. I have submitted my resume to all temp/permanent agencies, responded to internet job postings, newspaper employment ads and even word of mouth. Out of hundreds and hundreds of resumes, I’ve submitted and followed up on, I’ve only had four interviews. I appreciate your response. - Kaynn

Dear Kaynn,
Your resume needs some serious work. You are not getting interviews because your resume is cluttered with too many skills. Reduce your resume to one page and list each job with the skills that relate to that job only. Drop the functional style and go with a reverse chronological format. Functional resumes are the least desired by recruiters and employers. Good luck on your search,
- George

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.