Last Updated Mar 9, 2010 9:12 AM EST
Sadly, there is no formal protocol. Yet the question is still asked, and legitimately so. Now more than ever before, amidst a torrent of unsolicited resumes raining down on them in the bleakest of hiring climates, recruiters are being confronted by ambitious people who want to know what the deal is. Warning: the explanation will prove thoroughly unsatisfying.
There are two approaches to consider. Choose your preferred brand: Option One goes like this: Look or sound as if you are someone capable of and likely to dole out tons of search business to the recruiter once he or she installs you in that sleek new corporate role. In other words, exude the whiff of a meal ticket and you'll have the most streetwise consultants dancing around you for their supper.
Option Two is even more limiting and distinctly unglamorous: Do memorable work in your industry or profession and, despite your employer's best efforts to conceal your brilliance from the rest of the world, we will find you. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's really it.
Can't I offer something -- anything -- in the way of constructive detail? Let's see. It's beyond simple, really. Take on a miserable-but-important project that nobody wants or where others have failed...and succeed. It also helps if there's an opportunity for you to make someone else look heroic in the process. Specifically your boss. No self-promoting on company time, either. Act like it's not about you, ever, especially when you hit a home run. You're just -- aw, shucks -- doing your bit for the old team. And don't hit on the receptionist. She's out of your league.
Image by Flickr user roskodgroovy, CC 2.0