Q. I have been working in my profession for almost 15 years now. Over the years, I've heard my peers (both those in my profession and in other ones) talk about hearing from headhunters and recruiters, or hearing about job openings. I have to admit that I have never been contacted by a headhunter/recruiter, and have never had a former colleague/business acquaintance let me know of job openings. I'm pretty successful in my career (and my position is mostly stable), but all my jobs are the result of my efforts. Does that sound unusual? Part of me is concerned that if my job ever were to be in jeopardy (or if I wanted to change jobs or careers), I'd have a limited network to draw on.
A: Your situation is not that strange, and in fact, it is very common. I do think it is a good idea to establish a relationship and network with a recruiter or headhunter. You might ask some of your colleagues for names of headhunters that they feel really did a great job of representing them. Not all recruiters work for you — some work more for the firm. So, when asking colleagues, ask for names of recruiters who really were advocates for them.
Joyce E.A. Russell, an industrial and organizational psychologist, discussed workplace issues in a recent online forum. These are some excerpts.
Russell is the vice dean and the director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist and has more than 25 years of experience coaching executives and consulting on leadership and career management.