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The Internet has a number of job boards that list available jobs and allow you to post your resume for potential employers and recruiters to see. It's free to you. The hiring companies pay to list jobs and to view resumes. Many headhunters will scan the new resumes as they show up. Click here to find jobs using Indeed. For most jobs using email to send your resume is more practical than sending it the old fashion way on paper through the post office because it allows the HR people to distribute your resume without having to stand at the copy machine.
There is one drawback to this electronic method. Most of the job boards will want your resume in "plain text file", without all the fancy formatting you have worked so hard to achieve. Plain text resumes look terrible and are hard to read. Whenever you have a chance, send E-mails and attach your glorious, well-formatted, artistically conceived resume, rather than sending the plain text files these sites like to use. The file name should contain your name so that the recipient can quickly save and distribute the file.
Many high level positions will not show up on job boards due to privacy and security reasons. However, a quick scan of the job boards will show you that there are some Vice President and CEO positions listed.
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Job boards will also show you who is hiring. Even if you do not see your type of job, post your resume. I know of a Senior VP who posted his resume on four job boards and was getting calls from recruiters the next day. If you are still employed you probably do not want your resume showing up on the Internet, at least not with your name or your present employer listed.
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The Human Resource group in your present company probably search these boards to find new people and they may run across your resume. Some job boards promise to block your resume from your present company. Resume mass mailing is still one of my personal favorite ways to find a great position. You can't rely on this method alone, but this method has the potential of opening up doors that you did not know even existed. Back in when the first version of this article was published, very few people were aware of this method for getting one's resume in front of recruiters. However, during the last few years, several internet based services have come on line offering the service.
I first heard about this mass mailing technique from a fellow who always landed new and exciting jobs, seemingly at will and whenever he wanted one. This individual had no fears about changing jobs and companies. What you will do is email several hundred resumes and cover letters to a selected mailing list of retained and contingency recruiters. You might send out as many as or more. If you were once a hiring manager the mass mailing method may be a bit counter-intuitive.
To do your hiring you probably used a handful of recruiters who were specialized in your field. In this case you are going to reverse the process and contact over recruiters in hopes of finding the one who can help you. Yes, this is a "shotgun" approach rather than a precisely aimed rifle shot. But it works. Entry level jobs and non-managerial jobs are posted just about everywhere and you don't need a mass mailing to find them.
However, most management positions and most senior level positions will not be posted for public notice. Yes you can still find Vice President and CEO jobs on the Internet job boards, but most management jobs are known only to a few recruiters and the hiring manager. The trick is finding the recruiter who knows about the position that is ideal for you. For most management jobs, you can assume there is one, maybe two recruiting firms working on it. Usually, the hiring company will use their favorite recruiter.
They may in fact "retain" him or her, thus giving that recruiter an exclusive on filling the job. Recruiters love to be paid in advance. It really helps their cash flow.
In the US there are over recruiting firms. Some may be small two person offices.
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Some may be large national search firms with over a hundred recruiters and 30 branch offices. The odds are that only one of these firms knows about your perfect job. How do you find that firm? When you were a hiring manager, perhaps you had to pay retain a recruiter up front, or perhaps your company had a few contingency recruiters they liked to use. In any case you worked with a very limited number of headhunters, probably those approved by your HR people. Assume that a hiring company uses only one favorite recruiting firm and this firm is the only one to know about the open position.
How do you find this search firm? Well, you mail out a high volume of resumes to a mailing list of recruiting firms and you hope one lands at the door of the recruiter that knows about the open position.
So when you are the hiring manager you will work with just a few recruiters. When you are the job searcher, you will contact as many recruiters as possible. That is counter-intuitive for most people.