Make Sure You’re on the Headhunter Radar
Being visible to headhunters is a great way of ensuring you don’t miss out on the best career opportunities as they appear on the market. There is a number of practical steps you can take to ensure that you are on the headhunter radar. Here are some valuable tips:
1. Have a very strong brand
As individuals, we each have our own brands. Make sure you’re creating a personal brand aligned with what you want. Your LinkedIn profile needs to be aligned with what would attract a potential employer or a headhunter.
Make your profile professional. Get a professional photo taken. Your LinkedIn profile should reflect your CV and vice versa, it should be up to date and active. It’s important to have a good summary and clear examples of your experience. Talk about achievements rather than just describing what you’ve done. Recommendations on LinkedIn are important but make sure they’re from key people, such as people you’ve managed or clients, rather than family and friends. Your CV needs to be succinct yet long enough to highlight your experience. Get the right length, be clear, use statistics, and not too many words.
2. Make a lateral move
It’s important to have a well-rounded profile. And that doesn’t always mean going up. A lateral move that helps you gain experience is much appreciated by both headhunters and employers. As Sheryl Sandberg said, ‘It’s not a ladder, it’s a jungle gym.’ If you want to be headhunted, don’t just go in one straight line, don’t just go up the ladder. You need to do some steps on the side. If you’re in sales, you could do one account manager role, one strategic role, you can move internationally or maybe you can change company because it’s the right time to change or the right opportunity comes up. Changing company doesn’t always mean a bigger salary, but it does mean a whole new experience.
3. Be open
Talk to headhunters, you don’t have much to lose. Of course, you can be picky about which ones you talk to. But if you can identify who the good ones are, be open to them, share information, give them updates. That’s the only way a headhunter can help you and know when to contact you with what roles.
Being open is a broad term, be open to feedback – from your own employees, from headhunters, from future companies, from the market. Be open to hearing advice that can help you develop your career.
Networking is key. Network online, with headhunters, with potential employers, or internally in your company. Network face to face, go to events, put yourself out there. If you’re looking to make a change in your career, to make a step up, the best way is through a headhunter or through a person you met at a networking event. Networking takes time, it’s outside of office hours, and it might be the last thing you want to do after a busy day at work, but it’s definitely worth it.
5. Be visibly good at your job and consider the culture fit
The best way to get headhunted is to have a great profile, which comes down to your achievements and results. Focus on doing the best job that you can and that will naturally open doors and opportunities for you. It’s about developing yourself in your current role, focusing on bringing results, being highly rated by doing the right thing, adapting to the company’s culture and achieving. If you do that, you will be recommended. Headhunters ask other people who are the best-performing people they know and listen to their recommendations. Make sure your name pops up as a recommendation.
You should also be very clear on what culture suits you best. You can figure that out through networking, being open to headhunters and being open to feedback. Once you know what kind of company culture suits you, start networking in the right circles and surround yourself with the kind of people you’re inspired by, both online and offline.
Make sure to take these steps and not to miss the best career opportunities. Good luck!