As I mentioned in “What Recruiters Do,” there is a wide spread in the quality of recruiters out there. As long as you have a resume somewhere, or information about you online somewhere, recruiters are going to be looking for you.
A recruiter I’ve e-mailed with said:
Sometimes its a numbers game, and we eventually bump into someone actively looking to relocate, etc.
It is a numbers game, and typically the more people a recruiter can get in touch with, the better the chances are for them that they’ll find the person for a position they are trying to fill.
In “Technical Recruiters: How to Select a Good One” Ari talked about how to pick a good recruiter based on the way they contact you, so here are some things you can do to market yourself so that more good recruiters will find you.
#1 Have a meaningful LinkedIn intoductory paragraph
Several recruiters have told me that LinkedIn is where they live (and based on the volume of contacts I get, I believe them!) Possibly the single most important thing you can do to get good recruiters to find you is to have a LinkedIn profile, and have a good introductory paragraph about yourself. The good recruiters use this to find out what you’re passionate about, what you’re currently doing, and what would be interesting enough to get you to change jobs.
Job Tips For Geeks has a little more to say about using LinkedIn too: “LinkedIn Spam (?) and Recruiters: A Guide for Geeks”
#2 Tell Recruiters What You Want
When recruiters contact you, tell them what you want. Have a canned response that tells them exactly what you’re looking for (or what kind of crazy thing you’d have to see to even consider moving), and they won’t bug you again until they have it for you. Job Tips For Geeks sums this this up nicely
If you don’t want recruiters to waste your time contacting you about every job order that comes across their desk, politely let recruiters know what type of job would interest you.
Recruiters have massive databases and tools at their disposal, (a recruiter just recently pointed me to a new (to me) one: Connectifier, started by some ex-Googlers), and once they know what you’re looking for, your chances of hearing about something great go way up.
There are even things out there as crazy as “Do Not Hire” lists. The Wall Street Journal talked about this in 2010: How a Black Mark Can Derail a Job Search.
To the celebratory cheers of your co-workers and friends, delete your LinkedIn account due to ‘Recruiter Spam’. You won’t get any more InMails, but the bad recruiters are going to find your Github username, your e-mail address, your unlisted phone number, your Grandmother’s address, and they aren’t going to leave you alone.