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How To Catch A Head Hunters Eye – Top 10 Tips

by Jake on April 22, 2012

So you are on Linkedin and maybe not quite actively looking for work, but happy to keep your eyes open just in case the right opportunity comes along to progress your career.

Do you sit there some days wondering why head hunters call your colleagues but never reach out to you? Well I think most people actually don’t really know what head hunters do day to day. It certainly helps to be good at what you do for a living because that way you’ll end up being recommended to a head hunter via someone in their network. But the odd fish will still slip through the net as they say and so it is a wise option to ensure you have an attractive profile on somewhere like Linkedin so as head hunters can proactively find you.

So let’s take a look at 10 things you could do right now to add a little sparkle to your Linkedin profile and start courting approaches from head hunters.

Job Title – An obvious place to keep up to date but it is amazing how often people over look this one. I’d recommend you use an industry standard title here. ‘Public Happy Maker’ may be amusing to some, but if you are a social media manager, then say so. This is one of the first things a head hunter will use as a search criteria when engaging on a new search for talent. This is quite possibly one of the most important elements to your profile so make sure you get it right.

Keywords – Most head hunters will bring their search results back based on relevancy so you want a good mix of keywords representing what you do within your profile. Now don’t go getting spam happy as all user generated content should be written for humans and not search spiders. But saying that, if you do SEO for a living, make sure your profile and job description mentions this a few times. Ensure that other skills you have are mentioned too. Don’t rely on someone ‘reading between the lines’ as more often than not they will just skip to the next profile. Sticking with SEO, if you know web analytics make sure it’s mentioned. Doing on and off page? Get that in too. Mention HTML, link building etc.

Languages – Linkedin has a profile section for adding languages spoken. So many people leave this blank even when they do actually have a second or third language. Keep this up to date as a very high percentage of searches require secondary languages to be spoken.

Endorsements – Social proof is a powerful selling tool. Get recommendations from your former employers and colleagues. Get them from your current work place too. It is a real advantage to have some glowing work based references on your Linkedin profile.

Achievements – These should be added into your profile summary description and the relevant work experience sections. Do you speak at industry events or write for major news sites or blogs? If so add this in. Have you achieved massive savings financially for your employer? Companies like to see things like this. If you saved a competitor of theirs several million then you could do the same for them. Highlight this.

Applications – These are little gems often ignored by people on Linkedin. They can give your profile a major boost if used correctly, from things like wordpress integration and amazons reading list which help drive engagement, to apps such as slideshare where you can showcase presentations of previous work. Check them out on Linkedin and get a few added to your profile to make you stand out even more.

Work History – Keep this up to date and accurate. As with your current job title, make sure all previous are industry standard so a clear history of experience can be seen by a head hunter or potential employer. Keep dates accurate and write a paragraph outlining what you did and achieved there. Check that the company name you enter is the correct one for that employer too as head hunters often search based on particular employers as they have a reputation for only hiring the very best people.

Education – It is amazing how many people don’t think this is relevant once you have been in work for a while. But let’s be honest here, many companies have hiring policies for graduates only or will only look at people from certain universities. Update this and ensure you put in your grade. If the grade is left blank people will presume you failed or got a very low grade. In some countries education is more important than experience (Japan) so if you attended somewhere such as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, MIT or Harvard make sure it is on your profile.

Groups – Being in the right groups on Linkedin is key. Use them to engage with other members in discussions and you will soon get onto head hunters radars as they prowl these groups looking for strong talent. It also makes it very easy for them to contact you directly on Linkedin. Pick groups relevant to your industry.

Contact Details – Lastly add some contact details to your profile. Maybe set up an email address on the likes of Gmail that is purely for Linkedin so that head hunters can drop you a mail. No point putting on your work mail as it may not be secure and could be open to abuse by less reputable recruiters. For this reason I would not have a phone number publically listed either. You can add one though and set it so that only 1st degree contacts can see it.

If you take action on these 10 tips you will soon have a well rounded profile on Linkedin and be in a position where you can start to field head hunters calls and see what other opportunities are out there.

Photo courtesy of USFWS Pacific via Flickr. Some rights reserved

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