How to Work with Executive Recruiters – Part 1

Guest Expert, Pamela Atwood,
Executive Recruiter

Many employers hire Executive Recruiters to help them fill positions, which may not be posted. Developing relationships with recruiters can be advantageous, as they may contact you whenever a search emerges that matches your background. As with any good relationship, it takes time to build. Here are a few tips to help you effectively work with executive recruiters:

Send a letter and a copy of your resume to recruiters who specialize in your field. For example, firms that specialize in sales and sales leadership within the health care field.
Be responsive and helpful to recruiters that contact you. If the position isn’t a fit for you or the timing isn’t right to make a change, refer the recruiter to others you know and could recommend for the position. Recruiters remember which candidates were helpful.
Be honest. Never exaggerate your capabilities or attempt to mislead a recruiter in any manner. [Editor’s Note: Same goes for any employer!]
Have a professional resume ready.
• In addition to your resume, have professional references and letters of recommendation to share with your executive recruiter that paint a professional picture of your accomplishments, how you work best, and what type of culture is the best fit for you.
Share your salary history openly. Also know your desired salary and ideal salary range.

Relationships are built on trust and communication over time.  In today’s dynamic hiring culture, most executive positions  (approximately 70%) are found through networking and that includes working with recruiters.  So isn’t it worth your time to build relationships with Executive Recruiters in your field?

Pamela Atwood, MBA, is President of Atwood Associates, an executive recruiting firm.  She brings more than 20 years’ experience in the healthcare arena, including recruiting, management, marketing, and business development. She is also serves as adjunct professor in Upper Iowan University’s Health Care Services and Human Resources degree programs. Pamela chairs the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” Executive Leadership Team.

Don’t be a Networking Turkey

It’s Thanksgiving week and soon New Year’s Eve with more parties in between – friends, family, and office parties. A great time to network. And a time to avoid being a Networking Turkey. Let’s talk about the “Don’ts,” what NOT to do during holiday gatherings that will help you maintain your rock star status and avoid becoming a Networking Turkey.

The List:

  • Don’t drink too much. I know it’s the holidays. When at a work-related function, keep drinks to a minimum. No need for the walk of shame later.
  • Don’t dress or act provocatively – especially at work parties. People have long memories and smartphones with cameras.
  • Don’t ask for a job during holiday gatherings. It’s not the right time or place.
  • Don’t tag pics of your friends drinking or doing other embarrassing things during holiday parties on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks.
  • Don’t let your friends post those types of pics of you either!

Digital dirt lives forever online. You’ll need to untag crazy photos and ask friends to remove them (which they may or may not do) or bury the dirt with other on-brand content (such as blog posts). Despite taking these types of actions, digital dirt can still get found and be bad for your career. Better to be proactive and not have it happen in the first place.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Ageism: Are you an Al Bundy or a Betty White?

By George Blomgren, Guest Expert

A lot of older job seekers I work with are concerned that ageism is hurting their job search. And they may very well be right. But I believe the decisions we make through our lives have a profound impact on how we are perceived once we reach the point where employers may be biased against us.

Let’s face it, employers aren’t generally biased against our age, they are biased against what they associate with age. Consider two stereotypes for older workers. We probably all know at least one of each of these types:

The Al Bundy Curmudgeon. He’s grumpy and unpleasant to work with. He’s seen it all and is contemptuous of everything. Millennials? No work ethic! Technology? Who has time to keep up with all this new crap! Social media? Don’t get me started! A new way to do something at work? I’ve been doing it this way for 30 years and I have nothing to learn from you!

The Betty White. She’s hip, she’s funny, she knows the difference between Twitter and Reddit. She embraces new technology (and all the other changes life has thrown at her) with enthusiasm and zeal. She’s open minded but discriminating, and brings a wealth of life and professional experience to everything. She’s always happy to share her wisdom, but she respects that everyone has his or her own ideas and perspectives. She’s an invaluable resource to employers. [Editor’s Note: Betty jumped on Twitter at age 90. At 88.5, she appeared on Saturday Night Live as a result of Facebook votes.]

The fact is, we get to choose which stereotype we resemble as we age. Do we keep open minds? Do we keep up with the latest technologies? Do we work hard to find common ground with new generations and workers from different backgrounds? Are we receptive to new ideas and ways of doing things at work? Where we stand on matters like this is only too apparent to employers.

Which are you?

The fact that there are so many older workers who embody the “Curmudgeon” stereotype makes it harder for all of us “Betty Whites” by perpetuating employer’s biases. All the more reason we have to actively endeavor to avoid “hardening of the attitudes” and embrace your inner Betty.

George Blomgren is the  Director of Recruiting Solutions for MRA – The Management Association. George has more than 20 years of talent acquisition (aka recruiting), MarComm, technology, and operations experience. Prior to joining MRA, George ran the advertising and marketing department for one of the country’s fastest growing network of local employment web sites.

Holiday Networking and Your Brand

The holidays are fast approaching and that means parties — those of your friends, family, office colleagues, professional associations, and more. A great time to network.

Here are some things you can do during holiday gatherings that improve your brand and build your network:

  •  Attend holiday gatherings. I know, you’ve been invited to so many and it can get a bit overwhelming. I encourage you to participate and take an active role.
  • Be professional. You never know who will be at the event. Work events included. The spouse or significant other of a coworker could be a key connection for you later on. Many of my clients have gotten hired over the holidays.
  •  Take online networks offline. It’s the holidays, just because business may have slowed down, networking doesn’t have to. Good chance your online network has time for a coffee or lunch.
  • Take time to call a friend and other connections in your network. If your friend doesn’t have time for lunch, make time for a brief call. With the recent fires and other events, it’s important to stay in touch and strengthen your ties. These events affect people globally, not just locally.
  • Develop and practice your networking sound bite before heading to a party or other holiday event.
  • LISTEN. Listen to the conversations and identify areas where you can help. You’ve got to fuel your network to fire it up!™
  • Follow up with whatever you promised.
  • Connect via the appropriate social network(s). LinkedIn is terrific in that it provides regular updates right to your inbox, so you can quickly follow up with a congratulations note or related email.

Networking is all about building and maintaining relationships, not about making the instant sale or begging for a job. Build the relationship first. It will lead to the rest. Networking this way will have a positive effect on your brand and propel your career.

Have you got a holiday networking story to share? Share in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

© updated 2018 | Wendy Terwelp

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

You Are the Face of Your Brand

Editor’s note: Updated 6/7/2019

Missing headshot

Who would you, your customer or a potential employer hire? The silhouette above or one of these smiling faces below?

Sonya - headshot        Bill R. - pic      Terwelp, Wendy - 414photography

Your image is part of your brand. Having your smiling face in your social networking profiles helps build your “know, like, and trust” factor. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.

Not only that, have you ever said, “I know the face; I just can’t remember the name…”

Your face, your professional headshot, helps people remember you.

When attending networking events, you leave with loads of business cards, many with names, contact information, and logos, but no photo. How do you remember if the name you found on LinkedIn is the right person you met when the profile has only a silhouette?

It’s frustrating.

That smiling mug of yours is part of your brand, use it!

Having your face in your social networking profiles helps people connect with you and know that it’s YOU they met at last week’s event or conference.

Photos matter because — science.

According to LinkedIn, members who include a profile photo receive 21x more profile views and up to 36x more messages.

Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov found it only takes 100 milliseconds to form an impression of someone just looking at a photo of their face. And 80 to 90 percent of that first impression is based on two qualities — trustworthiness and competence.

Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy explains:

When we form a first impression of another person it’s not really a single impression. We’re really forming two. We’re judging how warm and trustworthy the person is, and that’s trying to answer the question, “What are this person’s intentions toward me?” And we’re also asking ourselves, “How strong and competent is this person?” That’s really about whether or not they’re capable of enacting their intentions.”

Trust and likeability play a role in helping you build your brand, your connections, and more.

I’m asked all the time if people really need a professional headshot in their social-networking profiles.

YES, you do. No excuses.

And if you’ve got an excuse for no photo, see if these sound familiar:

“My head is too big.” It’s been said that Oprah has a large-sized head, and she seems to be doing just fine.

“I want to lose weight before I pay money to get a professional headshot.” And “People say the camera adds 10 pounds. In my case it adds 50!”

Ask yourself this, have you got networking meetings coming up in the next week? How about interviews? Sales calls? Speaking gigs? Ballgame? Hiding behind no photo online detracts from your brand and gives the impression you don’t know how to use basic tools like LinkedIn.

You’ll still be seen in real life regardless. Embrace it. You are fabulous just as you are now. Pop that pic in your profile. Later, when you lose your planned weight, that warrants a brand new headshot of skinny you.

Did you know most people Google you before they meet you?

LinkedIn is typically on page one of those search results. Having a current photo in your profile means that when you arrive, people will immediately recognize you and know that you are the person they were scheduled to meet (not you from 2004, but you 2019).

“I don’t have any money for a professional headshot.” Find a well-lit space in your home or apartment and a light-colored empty wall. Wear something professional, smile big, and have your friend take a photo — or several so you can choose your favorite. LinkedIn now has some tools in their mobile app to enhance your photo. Use them. Save a bit every week and you can invest in a professional headshot soon.

People relate well to facial photos.

People like to do business with people, not a logo or your cat.

Your photo is part of your brand image. Be sure it’s aligned with your professional goals and your personal brand.

On LinkedIn, it’s important that your profile picture is professional versus a crazy pose, wedding or group photo. The photo needs to be of your head and the top of your shoulders, like the above photos. A white background is preferred.

One client told me about wanting to use a service based on someone’s recommendation.

“I Googled him before we met. He had this crazy picture on LinkedIn with his mouth open and head turned sideways. I wasn’t too sure about heading for the meeting after that.”


You can do some fun expressions on Facebook if you wish. With any profile photo, keep in mind the “Mom and Boss Test” — if you’d be embarrassed if your mom saw the photo or fired if your boss did, err on the side of “professional.”

Twitter’s profile-picture spot is very tiny. Keep that in mind when uploading your profile photo. For Twitter, I recommend having just your face in the profile photo. Your whole face, not your eye or a tiny picture of your full body. It’s too hard to see.

Recruiters say, “We will judge you not just on your profile, but your overall mastery of LinkedIn (especially for PR, sales, marketing, human resources and recruiting jobs). We look for a professional headshot, a powerful summary, at least several hundred connections, a complete employment history (including descriptions) and a good list of relevant groups.”

Final Thoughts on the Face of Your Brand
Book your professional headshot, add it to your social media profiles, and let’s see your fabulous face online!

© 2006 – 2019 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp, Opportunity Knocks, is a recognized career industry leader, dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru” by The Washington Post. Named in the Top 15 Career Masterminds (along with Richard Nelson Bolles, author of “What Color is Your Parachute?”), Top 100 Career Experts to Follow on Twitter, ATD’s “Best on Career Development,” and “Top 10 Career Helps” by Inc. Magazine, Wendy speaks about networking, social media, branding, and personal branding for career management to organizations worldwide. Wendy is also the author of Rock Your Network®.