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Get headhunted for your next executive role

How to get headhunted for your next senior executive role

You receive a call from an executive headhunter. He shows a genuine interest in you and knows all about your career to date. He’s keen to talk to you about an exciting job possibility with a renowned company. A tailor-made opportunity with a company you’d love to work for; a ringing endorsement of your career achievements so far. You feel an instant boost of self-esteem as you’re lifted up the career ladder.

Being on a headhunter’s radar can make advancing your career seem straightforward and the executive job search almost effortless. However, if you’re simply sitting back waiting to be headhunted, you’re going nowhere fast. The truth is it’s not that easy to attract a headhunter’s attention. But, with time and commitment, it is achievable. Are you up for the challenge?

3 strategies to make great jobs find you

Be visible (and searchable)

What do you find when you search for your name on Google? Embarrassing old news stories from your university days? Nothing at all? Whatever it is, that’s the first thing a headhunter will see too. First impressions matter. A headhunter wants to see a clear, consistent and professional image across a number of platforms that presents your personal brand and showcases your achievements and expertise. If you want to be contacted for the best job opportunities, you must have a strong, positive web presence.

Ensure you’re high on a headhunter’s radar when they’re searching for talent within your area of expertise with a fully completed and up-to-date LinkedIn profile loaded with relevant keywords. You’ll also want to leverage LinkedIn groups and connect with key players in your industry to make yourself known. The more connections you have, the more people will be able to find you. Then consider other social media platforms… which are most relevant for you? For senior executives, I recommend you use Twitter to tweet your way to job search success.

[pullquote]Being on a headhunter’s radar can make advancing your career seem straightforward and the executive job search almost effortless[/pullquote]

Now if you were to research potential candidates for your ideal job, would your name come up? Perhaps you need to elevate your status as an expert to attract attention? Then it’s time to start sharing relevant, high-quality content.

Be a Thought leader

You’re an expert in your field. So are your job search competitors. In fact, there’s an army of industry pros and potential thought leaders out there. Most have never publically voiced their views and experiences. This isn’t good for the job candidate who’s busy daydreaming about receiving a headhunter’s call. However, it’s great news for more proactive candidates, like you.

Imagine what a difference demonstrating your expertise and value in your field will make in attracting the attention of executive headhunters. It’s a well known truism that thought leaders tend to be the most successful individuals in their industry.

A thought leader is an individual who is recognised as an authority on specialised topics, becoming the go-to individual in their area of expertise.

This is about trusted advisorship. Consider a few topics that you specialise in. How can you use your know-how to provide value for others? Who are your target audience and what are their biggest questions? How can you reach them? Focus on being useful.

Thought leadership is about long-term results and building relationships but Paul Frampton, CEO of Havas Media, argues that thought leadership is not enough:

 “I believe passionately that we should be replacing the term ‘thought’ leadership with ‘social leadership’. By this I mean, not only having an active social media presence, but living your vision, leadership and values authentically via your every day behaviour and these open social platforms.”

Be a social leader

Social leadership sets you apart from other senior level job candidates as a way of presenting your personal brand, demonstrating your expertise and building meaningful relationships. Unsurprisingly, more and more directors and board members are looking for social media skills as one of the top 5 competencies in their senior executives. Demonstrating your aptitude for social leadership can be a huge advantage for you. This isn’t about being on social media; it’s about actively engaging on social media and providing value.

You’ll encounter many fascinating people on social. Strike up conversations with customers, colleagues and influencers. Listen and ask questions to help you understand their problems and how you can help. Share your expertise with the aim of being useful and making connections. With an active social presence, you can share your industry insights and know-how with the right people at the right time.

  • What sites that have a high level of authority in your industry can you write for?
  • Will you regularly publish articles on your own website or on LinkedIn (or both)?
  • Perhaps writing isn’t where your strengths lie and you’ll prefer video blogging or podcasts?
  • Not ready to fully commit to these activities right now? Try alternative blogging platforms such as Meddle to showcase your expertise to the world in less than 5 minutes a day.

This isn’t a recipe for overnight success and it wouldn’t be wise to rely on being headhunted for your next role. To capture the attention of a headhunter, you must stand out and be remembered by adopting a long-term strategy. Position yourself favourably and make it easy for a headhunter to discover you. Be visible. Be connected. Be helpful. And be thought of as ‘in the know’.

If you’d like to discuss other job search strategies that have proven successful for senior executives, you can click here to book a complimentary career strategy call.

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