How to Get Noticed By Executive Recruiters

Upwardly mobile professionals with an eye of key executive positions can speed up their career arc and slide into highly coveted positions by using an executive recruiter.

These headhunters who recommend talent for rewarding, challenging and high-salary vacancies at major corporations don’t interface with just anyone. They want to connect with a rarified pool of elite talent.

In order to get their attention and a meeting that can change your future, you have to create a game plan to get noticed. Here are some strategies:

High online visibility:

  • LinkedIn: Two-thirds of recruiters search LinkedIn when they are looking to match professionals with job openings. Maintain an updated and detailed profile. Attract attention with a profile header that doubles as a short marketing slogan that describes your professional assets and personality in a unique way. Stockpile LinkedIn recommendations by regularly requesting that former or past colleagues and supervisors write commendations for you. Find companies you aspire to work for and send invitations to key executives to join your network or LinkedIn Group. Just as you would if you met these people at a meeting, get their attention with a greeting and private message exchange.
  • Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, Instagram etc.: Aside from maintaining a profile with job details and the latest professional news, lure recruiters by using hashtags related to your industry or professional credentials as you discuss topics in your field. Create infographics noting all your talents and experience to post on visual platforms. Make a captivating video clip to publicize your expertise and upload it to video sites. Think beyond the traditional text-based usage of social media. Sometimes “liking” status updates, sending a direct message or signaling with an @ mention will also pique interest– if not done so much that it becomes a nuisance.
  • Resume: Using your own website or Scribd, which is widely searched for professional content, upload your resume, making sure to use keywords that reference your location, educational degrees, professional licenses, career field, industry buzzwords and any other phase that is associated with the type of work that you do. Consider turning your resume into a presentation and post it on slideshow platforms. Whatever format you choose, include a link to your LinkedIn profile to prompt recruiters to research you further.

High profile authority:

  • Authorship: Becoming an author and disseminating your corporate insights can inspire people to see you an authority in your field. Offer to be an industry expert for newspapers, industry magazines and other renowned media.
  • Speeches: Accept speaking engagements and offer to be a keynote or panel speaker at professional conferences.
  • Memberships: Join professional groups. They will legitimize you and keep you rooted in important industry circles.

Strong personal brand:

Just as a company’s strong branding presence can attract legions of customers, a distinctive and dynamic personal brand can draw the eyes of executive recruiters. Others practices might get your name in circulation, but a cohesive and prominent branding message and philosophy can set you apart from the crowd and telegraph to recruiters that you are a person of depth and leadership.

A personal totem, saying, narrative, gesture or other idiosyncratic effect that is linked in moderation to all your activities can raise intrigue, making recruiters want to know more. Just don’t get too gimmicky — and make sure your brand and public behavior are positive.

READ MORE: 6 Tips to Keep Your Personal Brand Present


Ascend the career ladder quickly and steadily – without making any tragic offshoots or backtracks – and you won’t have to vie for the interest of recruiters. They will come to you in droves. Professional honors and promotions noted in industry magazines and press releases will boost your reputation enough to make the headhunters come calling.

Extensive network:

Many recruiters depend on their first-degree and second-degree contacts for referrals when seeking to match top talent to employers. If you are regularly networking and maintaining contacts with change agents in your field, you will likely be within two or three degrees of a recruiter’s professional orbit.

When the time and job are right, you might then get that call from a headhunter who has already probed several acquaintances about you.

Direct contact:

Research a recruiter in your industry that you want to work with to find common ties. Perhaps you were born in the same place or have the same college alma mater. Perhaps you know a relative. You might share the same hobbies, passionate beliefs or causes. With your career plans in mind, use the commonality to make an overture and make your request to meet stand out. Don’t use the phone; cold calls are rarely effective with executive recruiters. It is acceptable to send an email with a carefully worded subject line that emphasizes your professional field and position. If you don’t want to discuss career opportunities too brazenly on the first contact, ask a few questions or comment on something you saw on the recruiter’s website or in an article quote in order to start building a friendly professional relationship.

Be a recruiter’s client:

Make a practice of using executive recruiters whenever you’re looking to hire at your company. This allows you to build a natural alliance so the recruiters will think of you when they are scouting for jobs at companies you might have deliberately and casually expressed an interest in during past discussions.

If you diligently institute a few of these smart practices, be prepared to sell yourself when the inevitable contact from a recruiter comes your way. Whether it’s for a lateral or vertical move, executive recruiters can get you through a corporate door that might otherwise remain closed.

Author: David Allocco is a seasoned business development and operations executive with experience in entrepreneurial environments. PierceGray is a retained executive search firm serving corporations around the world. Our primary practice areas are procurement, supply chain, and operations leadership.

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