If you want to get yourself known to the right headhunters, you'll need to ensure you're a well known name in your sector. There are a few shortcuts to achieving this. And they are...
Conferences: Get on the conference circuit. And when you attend a conference, talk to as many people as possible. Networking at the coffee break can be more important than actually listening to the speeches. Chat to the organisers and let them know who you are and what you do - there might be an opportunity for you to be a speaker at their next event.
Award events: Get involved in industry award or best practice events. It frankly doesn't matter whether you win or not. Yes, winning will raise your profile, but the simple fact of your involvement will get your name out into the marketplace.
PR: Volunteer to help journalists with surveys and information - then they'll come back to you for quotations. Get interviewed for articles. As long as you don't make a fool of yourself, any publicity is good publicity.
Market intelligence: Get to know your competitors - this is easy to do at client or industry events. Without revealing too many secrets, be nice to them. If their firm is looking for someone, they are likely to recommend a friendly individual who they are willing to work with.
Clients: Court your clients. Headhunters may or may not speak to clients when trying to compile a generic shortlist of candidates. However, they are almost certain to talk to them when recommending a particular candidate, as will a prospective employer if they are close to hiring you. And clients' recommendations are likely to count for a lot.
Finally, even if you aren't interested when headhunters call you - get their names and numbers. Keep them warm without upsetting them. You never know when you may need to call them back!
A statistic I once heard in a training session horrified me so much that it's stuck with me for years - that achievement is 60% who you know, 30% what those who know you think of you, and only 10% your actual performance. If there is a grain of truth at all in this, it highlights the importance of networking and self marketing if you want your career to progress.
Anneke de Boer is a former managing director of Morgan Stanley's fixed income and debt capital markets business in London. She retired in 2006.