18 November 2016

Tips from a corporate headhunter #3: Manage your personal brand online and offline


If you manage your online presence right, you could triple the number of potential opportunities you hear about, by increasing the odds of recruiters finding you.

As mentioned in my last blog, in this blog, I shall cover the next two tactics for winning the game of career advancement: one online, and one offline.

Manage your online personal advertising billboard

Thanks to the power of modern search engines and social media sites, employees at all levels and in all fields can now get headhunted, not just senior executives.

The recruiter’s (current) best friend for finding white-collar professionals is LinkedIn, and there are specific ways you could write your LinkedIn profile to help you get the recruiter’s next ‘tap on the shoulder’.

Your LinkedIn profile has to appeal to search engines as well as pass the HET (or Human Eyeball Test), and should not just be an online version of your resume. Also, be mindful of posts and tags associated with you on other social media, because first impressions count.

What you put or don’t put on your LinkedIn profile can determine sliding door moments in your career where a seemingly insignificant detail could determine whether a recruiter picks you as a possible candidate for a role, or not. This is because:

  • A search engine finds your LinkedIn profile (or not) in 10,000th of a second
  • A recruiter may evaluate your LinkedIn profile for a job opportunity in under 10 seconds

What should you do slightly differently to increase your odds of catching a recruiter’s eye on Linkedin?

Let’s start with these four things. Seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get it right.

  1. Make sure your profile photo is business-like, something that would belong on a corporate website. First impressions count, so no selfies and photos taken at social events.
  2. Put a mini elevator pitch in your professional headline if you are looking for work, but do not waste this prime ‘real estate’ of 160 characters with ‘actively looking for a new job’.
  3. Make sure these three things are in your summary section: core technical skills, recent education and qualifications, and up-to-date information on your career experience thus far.
  4. Make sure your LinkedIn presence is search friendly with the right keywords, and maximise your degree of interconnectivity by linking witheveryone you have ever met, and evaluate online invitations to connect by asking yourself what’s in it for you.
Tap into the rich network of people you know

Your network is the most important additional dimension for job search besides responding to advertised positions—because a good 50% of available roles are found through your social and business networks, more than double the opportunities you can receive through known or new headhunters alone.

If you feel uncomfortable about networking, remember this charming element of human psychology: most people love the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise—and to provide assistance when asked.

There is a systematic process for prioritising whom to contact, what to say, and what to do (and not do) which is beyond the scope of this blog. Basically I show you what to do so that you can create an army of advocates who are more likely to mention you if they hear of any new opportunities suitable for you.

More information is available in the recording of a free webinar I recently presented in collaboration with Velpic, or for even more information, please get my books Resume Karma or Career Karma.

Velpic and I share an interest in empowering more people through education, with knowledge formerly available only to a select few due to cost or other limitations. So far, I have enjoyed sharing what I know mainly through business conferences, career talks at universities and masterclasses, while Velpic makes learning easier and more accessible through mobile and online training.

Our happy collaboration includes this blog series, and in my next and final blog I’ll talk about how you can showcase your talent best on paper and in person, and how to decide whether to accept a career opportunity offered to you. I speak from painful personal experience that accepting a role for the wrong reasons can derail you from career maximisation for months, if not years.

Meanwhile, I invite you to watch our 45-minute webinar ‘Maximise your career potential: Tips from a corporate headhunter’ by clicking on the button below.

Watch Recording Now

 About James Fairbairn. An executive search, selection and retention expert for over 21 years, the author of ‘Career Karma’ and 'Resume Karma’, and a sought-after public speaker.


James Fairbairn

James Fairbairn

Partner at Lester Blades - Executive Search, Selection & Retention