Learn how to get headhunted to improve your job search experience.

If you're a high-level manager or executive, there's a chance that you've been contacted by a headhunter at some point in your career. You may even know that many companies use these professional talent seekers to identify great candidates for various job vacancies. 

Did you know, though, that learning how to get headhunted can improve your odds of being considered for top positions in your industry?

In this post, we will explain what headhunters do and how their activities can potentially benefit your career advancement. We'll also provide some key strategic tips that you can use to help attract a headhunter's attention.

What are headhunters, and what do they do?

Headhunters are hiring specialists who work on behalf of a company to fill open positions with top talent. Their job is to 

  • Identify the best candidates for certain upper-tier jobs

  • Expedite their client companies' hiring process

  • Fill vital open positions

These positions can include everything from senior management jobs to C-suite executive roles.

They're called headhunters for a reason, of course: many of the top candidates they approach are already employed by other companies. The headhunter's job is to contact those candidates, sell them on a new employment opportunity, and convince them to take that new job. Headhunters are usually authorized to offer greater compensation and other benefits to entice these candidates.

Related reading: Top Management and Its Role in Achieving Company Success

How can you benefit from being headhunted?

As you progress in your career, you'll invariably find that advancement becomes more difficult – and for good reason. The pool of available jobs shrinks as you rise through the upper levels of management and leadership. The sad reality is that there are far fewer executive positions than entry-level and middle-management roles.

A headhunter can help expand your available employment opportunities at those higher levels of management. They'll be aware of opportunities you might never hear about and will have already done the groundwork necessary for determining your qualifications for the job. Most importantly, they'll have the direct connections you need to earn the inside track on that open position.

Related reading: Leader vs. Manager: Understanding the Difference Between These Two Key Roles

How to get headhunted: 7 tips to grab a headhunter's attention

1. Enhance your online presence

If you've already got a LinkedIn profile, you're off to a great start. But you need more than just a stale profile if you want to attract the right kind of attention. 

One of the keys to learning how to get headhunted is to first learn how to make yourself stand out online. You can start by perfecting your LinkedIn profile to ensure it's as visible as possible to potential headhunters. 

Here's what you need to do:

  • Make sure your information is regularly updated

  • Create a powerful profile that includes keywords headhunters might be searching for

  • When you include achievements, use real numbers that quantify the type of results you can offer to employers

  • Get as many quality recommendations as possible

  • Join relevant groups in your industry

  • Use a professional photograph on your profile page

  • Create or share relevant content as often as you can

Once you've perfected your LinkedIn profile, adjust your profile settings to signal you're open to work. This will let headhunters know you're amenable to offers. While you're exploring your preferences, be sure the update reflects job titles and industries you're interested in, location preferences, type of work, and preferred company size. This will help headhunters easily determine if you're a good fit.

Related reading: How to Upload Your Resume to LinkedIn - Step by Step Guide

2. Get active offline too

Don't limit your activities to the online world. Make sure you also raise your real-world profile too! 

You can do this by getting more active in your industry – participating in industry events, attending conferences and seminars, and reaching out to other professionals in your sector. By becoming more socially active, you can better ensure your name is well-known throughout your industry – which can increase the odds that headhunters will learn about your talent.

3. Identify headhunters before they find you

While you wait for headhunters to flock to you, feel free to do some headhunting of your own. Do some research to identify headhunters who might be able to help you. Finding and selecting the perfect headhunter can be time-intensive, but that time will be well-spent if you can locate one or two and make your presence known.

There are a couple of ways to hunt down headhunters.

First, if you want to work for a specific company, use LinkedIn or other tools to check and see if they have internal headhunters or recruiters. For example, if you dream of working for Bosch, the engineering and electronics company, search Bosch on LinkedIn. Click over to “employees” and then filter the 20,000+ results by typing in a keyword like “talent” or “recruit” in the title section. You may be able to find talent acquisition consultants and recruitment specialists for the company.

Second, if you're more interested in a general industry, such as media or marketing, consider turning to external headhunting agencies and firms that work with a variety of companies. You can connect with a national agency or see if there's a local firm nearby.

4. Make meaningful connections

When it comes to headhunters, it's also important to build meaningful working relationships. One of the easiest ways to start that process is to make sure you always respond to them when they contact you.

For example, if a headhunter reaches out with the “perfect” opportunity for you, but you realize it's just not the right role at this point in your career, what do you do? Many people will just ignore the message. Don't do that! 

Instead, thank the headhunter and explain why that job doesn't align with your current career path. You never know – there could be another position that is perfect for you, either now or in the future.

If you're itching to reach out to a headhunter on your own, follow the same etiquette. Simply introduce yourself, share your experiences, and make your intentions known. Consider offering a get-to-know-you phone call or a coffee meet-up. The more personal you can make it, the more likely they'll remember you when the right job comes around.

5. Focus on your success

Of course, none of your efforts to increase your visibility will mean a thing if you're not achieving success in your current role. That's why it's vitally important that you focus on creating positive results for employers at every stage of your career. 

Yes, one of the secrets to learning how to get headhunted is so obvious that many people may miss it: always strive to be the best at what you do.

6. Be relentless in your networking efforts

You'll also need to invest time and energy into your networking efforts to build connections that establish you as an expert in your field. Form solid working relationships with colleagues, clients, vendors, and other professionals in your industry. Make sure those relationships are meaningful by providing value to everyone in your network. Give them tips, recommendations, and other positive assistance, and they'll be more likely to return those favors.

7. Get your resume in order

No matter how well you learn how to get headhunted, nothing is more important than a solid and compelling resume. Always make sure that you're regularly updating your resume with your current skill set, experiences, and measurable achievements. 

As you do so, revise every area of the document so that it remains aligned with your current career goals and job desires. If you need assistance creating or updating your resume, check out these helpful resources for some vital tips and examples:

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Learning how to get headhunted can expand your career opportunities

The closer you get to the peak of your career mountain, the more difficulty you may experience locating top-tier job opportunities. By learning how to get headhunted, you can increase the likelihood that headhunters will reach out to you with open positions. That can expand your job search horizons and help ensure your career advancement continues at a steady pace.

Not sure if your resume is ready to present to recruiters and headhunters? Why not take this opportunity to get a free resume review from our team of experts today?

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