Focus: People Management - Coaching session with Stephen Bubb

Stephen Bubb is chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo). Send your questions to

Q: I want to move on from my current job. How do I get myself headhunted?

A: Ah, yes - we all dream of the phone call that transports us from daily drudgery to a world where we are adored and showered with riches.

But there really are steps you can take to get yourself noticed and bring yourself to the attention of the headhunter.

I have become aware that headhunting is becoming increasingly common for top jobs in the sector.


My top tips for getting noticed are:

1) Be the best.

You really are going to have to be good in your job and have some real achievements to your name. So you will want to make sure that your achievements are noticed outside your organisation.

2) Reputation is everything.

Seek out opportunities to get what you are doing published. Look for opportunities to write articles, talk to the media and make presentations at conferences. People who run events are always on the look out for new ideas and new angles.

3) Network.

Frankly, if you are not networking, you are not going to get noticed.

Networking is the key to career and organisational development, as explained in my book Only Connect, a guide to networking that I wrote with one of the country's top headhunters, Hamish Davidson. The book is available through

4) Plan your career.

Do you have your own career development plan? If not, start writing it now. You must think carefully about where you want to go and when. If you are in a good job and are achieving things, don't move too quickly.

Capitalise on your success, but don't get too stale.

5) Find a coach or mentor.

You'll need help in planning your career, and you'll need support in looking out for opportunities and how to develop your professionalism.

Tailored CV

6) Be prepared to rewrite your CV.

Think of your CV as a floating amalgam that crystallises around specific opportunities. Keep it constantly refreshed and tailor it for each opportunity.

7) Hunt them down.

You don't need to be a genius to work out who are the main headhunters operating in our sector. Write to them, ask them out to lunch and develop a relationship with them. It's a candidates' market and you never know what might turn up.

One final word of warning - don't get so obsessed with finding a new job that you neglect your current one. That might get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.

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