Once you decide to enter the job market, for whatever reason, one of your initial responses may be to get your resume to as many recruiters as possible.

Certainly, contact the ones you already have relationships with first. A boutique firm, such as Heritage Recruiting Group, will provide considerable personalized attention.

Find out whether a firm is contingency or retained. Ask the recruiter what kinds of positions they typically work on. Check out their website.

Personal phone conversations will give you a feel for an individual recruiter. You want to deal with people with whom you feel comfortable. Make sure that they won’t be “broadcasting” your resume without asking you first if you are interested in any given position.

Does the recruiter come across as a professional? Does he/she listen? Does he/she offer good feedback? Is he/she easy to speak with? Do you feel like you can trust him/her?

A phone conversation will help you begin a relationship and get some attention. If you can reach a recruiter before you send a “blind” resume — or just after he/she has received it—so much the better.

It’s a good idea to have about a 30- to 60-second “commercial” prepared about yourself for when you do speak with the recruiter. It should sum up who you are, what you do and what you are looking for. It’s a great beginning and then you and the recruiter can go from there.

A good retained Search Professional can and should be responsive to job seekers. Their first allegiance, however, is to their clients. Keep in mind that retained search firms are not “employment agencies”. They do not concentrate on a single candidate and try to find a position in which they can place him or her. They are engaged by client companies to fill given positions and will search for the best candidates for their clients.

If you appear to be a good fit for a given position, the recruiter will take you through the interviewing process. If not, as impressive as you and/or your resume may be, the recruiter just may not be currently working on an assignment that fits you. But three months (or longer) from now, he/she may have a new assignment that looks like a good fit—and you’ll be the first to know!