5 ways to dramatically improve your chances of being headhunted for a job

Opening yourself up to the possibility of being headhunted for your dream job creates a whole new world of opportunities. Most job seekers rely solely on their own efforts to gain a job interview and a potential new career. Making yourself visible through lots of different platforms will allow other professionals and employers to locate your unique skills and experience.

Lots of senior positions are mainly recruited via headhunting and recommendations, and even if you’re not looking for a management role you will still benefit greatly from making yourself known.

If you want to open yourself up to the prospect of being headhunted, here are 4 ways you can dramatically improve your chances:

1. Choose and build a brand 

A great way to make it easier for employers to recognise your potential is to create and build your own brand. Have a focused career goal and create a title or brand for yourself. Are you a qualified and experienced ‘Digital Marketing Manager’ or do you strive to become one? Then this should be your brand name and focus for your career status.

Everything you create should be geared towards this brand so it’s clear to anyone reading your information what you specialise in and the skills and knowledge you have to offer. Create yourself a brand and an identity which oozes passion, hard work and determination with a focus upon sending a clear message to anyone who comes across your professional details.

Find out more: ‘How to Build a Personal Brand (Complete Guide to Personal Branding)‘ by Tyler Basu, Content Marketing Manager at Thinkific

2. Create a network of great relationships 

It’s not what you know, but who you know!

Creating yourself the chance to be headhunted means you need to get your name out into the professional domain. Creating a solid and ever expanding network is the only way you can stand a chance of rising above any competition. Keep in touch with other professionals in your chosen industry and stay in regular contact.

Use social media to share and comment on the latest news and updates, and make it known to your network how passionate and knowledgeable you are about the industry.

Never burn any bridges and always stay courteous and professional with previous places of employment – managers and co-workers. Not only is this important for maintaining a solid list of references, it will also ensure the perception of you remains professional and upbeat. It would only take one bad reference to prevent an employer from headhunting you – and you would never even know it happened!

Find out more: ‘5 Smarter Ways to Build the Professional Network You Need‘ by Jeff Haden, Ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer, contributing editor to Inc. and author of The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.

3. Create a comprehensive LinkedIn profile 

One of the most popular business forums to connect with other like minded professionals is LinkedIn. Although your CV is used by employers to establish your experience, qualifications and skills, your LinkedIn profile can act as a second digital job application. Whereas the CV is sent to an employer by the job seeker, a LinkedIn profile acts as both a digital CV and an advertisement for potential head hunters.

Most job seekers should take advantage of their profile by providing a link on their CV when applying for a position. An employer is more likely to request an interview if the candidate provides a link to their profile.

Most employers headhunt specifically through social media platforms, so having a LinkedIn account will open a lot of doors. However, you should maintain this profile to the highest level and keep in regular contact with other users. Having a strong and comprehensive profile will benefit you greatly when it comes to advertising your talents. But having a bare profile will have the opposite effect, and will give an employer little reason to contact you. It would demonstrate a lack of care and interest in your chosen industry.

For more information on the benefits of having a LinkedIn profile, check out our article ‘Why a good LinkedIn profile boosts your interview chances by 71%‘.

For tips on building an amazing LinkedIn profile, read our LinkedIn guide here, check out Jane Fleming’s article ‘17 steps to a better LinkedIn profile‘, or watch Angela Cheng Matthews’ video which specifically focuses on creating a great LinkedIn profile to be headhunted:

4. Get out and about

Networking event

Networking at events can help build your personal brand and increase the likelihood of you being headhunted.

Consider attending industry events so you can meet new people and create more contacts. Headhunting isn’t always a one way street, and you could create an opportunity just through a chance conversation at an event or seminar.

However, this doesn’t mean that you always have to catch a train down to London every weekend, and there are lots of ways you can interact online from your own home. Building an online presence and interacting on forums will create another avenue of opportunity. Try to connect to as many portals as possible as this will advertise your availability for invitations to events or even podcasts.

Consider having a few business cards created so you can give them out at events. Make sure your name, contact number and professional title is clearly stated on the card. You never know who just might stumble across your details and contact you for an interview.

Here’s an awesome post by the Forbes Communication Council which explains Networking at Events: ‘10 Networking Tips To Help You Make A Great First Impression At An Event‘.

5. Send out speculative CVs

“If your job search consists only of applying to advertised vacancies, you’re likely to be missing out on many other opportunities – as well as unnecessarily lengthening the process”, says Clare Whitmell at the Guardian.

Although this isn’t headhunting in the strictest sense, sending out a speculative CV may result in a call from a prospective employer that doesn’t relate to a current job vacancy. Employers are often on the look out for great talent and when someone comes along that could impact their company’s bottom line, they won’t ignore the CV just because they haven’t advertised a role.

Clare’s article, ‘The art of making an effective speculative job application‘, is extremely helpful if you’ve never considered this approach to job hunting previously. She recommends using the post since “letters are almost always opened, making them perhaps a better choice than an email.” Choose a highly professional CV template (our full CV template collection is here) and make sure you put just as much effort into your covering letter as you do for your CV.

2 thoughts on “5 ways to dramatically improve your chances of being headhunted for a job”

  1. Helpful little article here, some good links. It’s not enough to simply scour through the job ads these days. You have to be far more proactive. Headhunting is just one way to do that.

  2. Thanks Martin, I love the way your articles actually show us how to do something rather than telling us. Having been out of work for 2 years, I desparately need a new direction for my job search and I think this is it – events here I come!


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