How to get headhunted on LinkedIn

Ever wondered what the point of LinkedIn was? One of the main purposes is to build a career brand for yourself. By showcasing your experience and capability, recruiters and headhunters around the globe can find and approach you. But that's not going to happen if you don't maximise your profile. Here's my top seven tips to maximise your chances of being approached.

Customise your headline

By default, your headline is made up of your role title and current organisation, but remember key words are king! Often a job title doesn’t really represent what we do or the value we can bring. Make the 120 characters you have for this field count and show headhunters you have been thoughtful enough to tailor your headline.

Create visual impact

Many LinkedIn experts will tell you a profile photo is the number one rule when creating your profile. Add a professional but friendly head and shoulders only picture and leave those holiday and party snaps for your private social media accounts. By adding an impactful background graphic your profile is going to “pop”.

Tell a compelling story in the summary section

Many people leave this section out, but hey we’re trying to align our profile with our CV and career brand, right? Make those first three lines so compelling the reader needs to know more. Align your LinkedIn summary with your professional profile and skills with those on your CV. Tell the reader how you add value and what gets you out of bed in the mornings. You’re allowed to have a personality on LinkedIn so let it shine through in this section.

What do you do/have you done in your past roles?

Just having your organisation’s name and job title with no details on what you actually did in those roles isn’t really painting a picture of you professionally and what you have delivered. Put more detail (and key words) in your most recent and/or most relevant roles to what you are seeking next. Think about a couple of achievements too. Not only what you did when you went to work but actual examples of how you added value.

Keywords, keywords and more keywords

You get 50 key words in the skills and endorsements section. That’s 44 – 46 more than the top 4 – 6 on your CV so make the most of this opportunity. There’s often more than one way of describing the same skill. Do you have great sales skills? What if the headhunter uses “business development” or “account management” instead of sales in their search? Add all three in this section so you come up in those searches. What technical systems, applications and skills do you have? It might sound like a whole lot of jargon to those not in the know but those headhunters will be keying in these terms if they are looking for someone with very specific and hard to find technical capability.

Get people to sing your praises

Recommendations are the icing on the cake for recruiters and headhunters who want to save time and energy searching for as much information about you as possible whilst enjoying a coffee while they conduct their research! This includes what your clients, bosses and colleagues would say about you. Ultimately some of these people might be your verbal referees too. Be specific when asking for a recommendation – get a range of people to highlight different areas of your expertise.

Don’t be shy

If you’ve finished up at your current workplace, close off your period of employment to let recruiters know you may be available almost immediately. There are other ways to let recruiters know you are open in your preference settings in the jobs tab too. How about a “call to action” at the end of your summary section. Something like “I’m open to discussing opportunities where I can add value to your leadership team and drive performance and profits within your sales and marketing function. Please contact me via LinkedIn messaging for a confidential discussion”. Remember this is your Career Brand and it’s worth something! Avoid words like – “Looking for my next career opportunity” and “available immediately”anywhere in your LinkedIn profile. Head hunters don’t use these as key words and you don’t want to sound desperate either.

I believe the days of traditional CV’s are numbered in favour of online profiles and digital technology so get onto this now.

If you need a hand with getting started or just sprucing up an existing profile and want to find out more about how else you can utilise LinkedIn to assist with your career direction get in touch.

leeanne@careerspheres.co.nz ph; 021 675 870


When I was job hunting late 2019/early 2020 Leeanne Parkinson assisted me to improve my job search and then to maximise my chances with the job applications I submitted. I found that her help was a definite benefit for me and for my prospects of finding a suitable role. In doing this she was organized, always positive and encouraging and provided up to date, relevant recruitment information and techniques in a friendly manner. Leeanne provided timely feedback and was very willing to help. In the end I did find a full-time role for which I was grateful for. I would have no hesitation in recommending Leeanne to anyone else who would like assistance finding a new role in what is a very competitive environment.

Ross
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August 2020