Looking for a new job can be a time-consuming and often difficult process. If you are already employed in an executive position that takes up most of your time and energy, you might wonder how you’ll ever get around to it. The truth is, however, that some of the best jobs available are not advertised at all. Instead, companies employ professional headhunters to search for the perfect candidate. So how do you get the headhunters to notice you? Read on for our advice:
Even if you’re not actively looking for a job right now, it’s never too early to prepare for the future. During your career, you may have contact with headhunters or executive search firms – for example, if you are looking to hire staff yourself or if you are approached to give a reference for a former colleague. By going out of your way to be helpful now, you could be making a good impression that will work in your favour later on.
Aim to Impress in your Current Job:
If you are thinking of moving on, it might be tempting to ease up a little in your present position, especially if you’re preoccupied with searching for a new job. But if you want to maximise your chances of that new job finding you, taking the opposite approach is probably wise. After all, headhunters are looking for the best possible candidate for their position, and news has a habit of getting around. Make sure that if your name is being mentioned, it’s for the right reasons. You never know who is connected to whom!
Get Out There
While doing well at your current job is fundamental, you’ll need to do more if you really want to make sure that your qualities are brought to the attention of headhunters. There are a number of ways you can get yourself noticed:
- Get Your Name in Print: If your company produces publications or there is an industry journal related to your field, publishing an article is a great way to get yourself noticed outside your own organisation.
- Attend Conferences: To the same end, it could be well worth your while to put yourself forward to attend conferences and events on behalf of your current company. If you can speak there, so much the better, but if not, you can certainly network. While you are there to represent your company, you are representing yourself as well. Events like these provide valuable opportunities to mingle with headhunters and potential future employers.
The above points are tried and tested methods that have provided executives with effective ways to make their mark for generations. However, the modern business world offers an additional means to this end through social networking. LinkedIn is probably the most effective social networking platform when it comes to attracting the attention of headhunters. Here’s how to get the best out of it:
- Use Keywords Effectively: When headhunters use LinkedIn to search for potential candidates, they do so using keywords (for example, those related to job titles, key skills and location). By making sure you include the relevant keywords in your profile, you can maximise your chances of showing up in a search. Be careful not to overdo this – a profile that has obviously been overstuffed with keywords won’t impress at all.
- Connect With 500 People: By having 500 connections or more, you will vastly improve your chances of showing up in as many searches as possible. It might seem like a tall order, but connecting with 500 people who are involved in your field is better than making 500 random connections. To improve your chances of connecting with people you don’t know, send them a personal message pointing out your shared interests.
- Join and Contribute to Groups: Recruiters often look at groups relating to their field to find potential candidates. By taking the time to join and comment, you will make yourself more visible to them.
With any form of networking it’s wise to be discreet. Having your office find out that you’re looking to move on isn’t ideal if you’re not yet ready to tell them yourself. When it comes to social networking, be careful of mixing business with pleasure. An ill-considered remark on Facebook, for example, could easily undo all the hard work you’ve invested in LinkedIn, and could even jeopardise your entire career.
Both traditional and internet-based networking should be seen as a long-term investment in your future. By building genuine connections over time, you’re more likely to find people who are willing and able to help you when the time comes to look for a new job.
Contact the Headhunters Directly
Perhaps the most proactive thing you can do is contact headhunters or search firms directly and ask them to add you to their database of potential candidates. Approach this in the same way as you would search for a job, and take the time to research firms that you think fit your skills and attributes best.
Author: Georgina Stamp has worked in the interim managers industry for a number of years and understands the difficulty in handling executive employees for organisations. She currently works for Marble Hill Partners, who help to search for executive candidates.