Get Headhunted, and Position Yourself for the Job You Want

Job searching – it’s exhausting right?

I hear you. You’re pressed for time. And it’s overwhelming knowing where to start. Looking for a job can be a full-time job itself, and when you’re the kind of person who gives 110% to what you’re doing, you don’t have a lot left over to be scoping out the market. I hear this a lot from great candidates of all experience levels.

And quite often from the most surprising of people. Highly skilled marketing professionals with amazing careers, who haven’t had to formally apply in the job market for years, if ever. Or more junior candidates looking for a break or a step up, but who can be overwhelmed by feeling too inexperienced to put their hand up.

Regardless of how experienced or inexperienced you are, let me tell you, there is a career for everyone. After over 13 years or recruiting and headhunting, I can honestly say that almost every job brief is unique – which is great, because so are you.

So take heart. Your next career is out there.

There are more tools than ever to help headhunters come to you (so you can focus on your day job), whether they’re working directly for a brand or agency partners.

When I say this it’ll seem so obvious, and can be summed up in one mic drop sentence:

If you apply even a smidge of your inbound marketing experience to your own personal brand you will notice a difference

I know, you’ve been so busy getting everyone else’s brand in the limelight that you haven’t had a lot of time to work on your own. Here’s the good news:

This is so simple to execute on that you could do this in your sleep.

1. GET CLEAR

Quite often I meet people in interviews who think that if they keep the scope of what they’re looking for really broad, they’ll be presented with more opportunities. Almost always though, the opposite is true. Companies are very specific about what they want when they go to market to hire – so you can expect their headhunters to be looking for someone equally specific.

More importantly than this though:

You need to know what you want.

We’re not aiming for you to be headhunted for every role that ever graced LinkedIn.

We’re aiming for your dream role, or in the very least the role that is a clear step in the direction you’re heading. So be honest. Do some soul searching, and make a choice.

2 . KNOW THE ELEMENTS

It’s quite possible you’re not sure if what you’re looking for exists, or even what type of roles are in market. I hear you. Actually, I hear this from candidates a lot.

Don’t sweat it, there’s a workaround for this:

Scrap the job title for a minute.

Consider:

What are the elements of the job that excite you?

These can be either in your current role, or the one you want to snag.

Are there parts of your current role you don’t enjoy and want to avoid if possible? This is equally important.

Make a list (if you’re a list maker, like me) of the components of the role that you’re looking to attract. How will you know it’s the right role when it taps you on the shoulder? What’s important to you, and what would you compromise on?

Question your drivers. What motivates you? What are the parts of your role that absolutely light you up?Where do you find the most bliss?

Progress not perfection! From here you definitely have enough to make a start.

3. SEO YOURSELF LIKE IT’S GOING OUT OF FASHION

Now that you have some clarity on what you’d like to be found for… be honest, if I were to Boolean search for those skills & attributes in your local area right now, would I find you? If not, make it easy for head-hunters and hiring leaders to find you.

Put the keywords you’d like to be found for in your LinkedIn (sounds obvious I know). Recent stats say that up to 95% of recruiters incorporate LinkedIn into their search.

Given they’re searching alllllll the time, it makes sense to be visible where they’re looking. Link your profile to articles you’ve written, or been featured in, that relate to your career Put your current company in your FaceBook or Twitter profile (unless of course you’ve got a lot of questionable pics on your public profile ;)

Actively share and or comment on articles in the online community that relate to the direction you’re heading.

Save your resume in the Seek repository. Both direct employers and recruitment agencies have access to this tool and will Boolean search the Seek database. Make sure you’re there when they’re searching.

4 . MAKE YOUR CV AN EXTENSION OF YOU

This is a cruel but honest truth: your resume is likely to get under 1 minute of attention from a hiring leader unless you give them cause to dig deeper.

So catch their attention.

Their eyes (and/or bots) will be quickly scanning your CV for relevant skills and experience. Give them a reason to screen you in, not out, and apply the same SEO logic from your LinkedIn profile to your CV. Your resume should include the keywords you want to be found for – not the jargon in your PD.

This is equally important for the seek repository. The algorithms are pretty impressive, and will be looking to proactively make suggestions to employers based on the content of your CV vs the search criteria. Ensure yours is in the long-list of people to approach.

What experience can you draw upon that puts you in good stead for your next gig? Emphasize it. Make it really, really easy for people to picture you in the role.

Your CV should honestly reflect where your skills are at, and where your ambitions lie. It’s perfectly OK not to have experience in a particular area, and to stipulate that’s the skill you’d most like to work on in your next role.

Pro Tip: don’t speak about yourself in third person. Ever.

Lastly, when we do finally get a copy of your CV, or stumble across your online profile, it should feel like this written communication is an extension of you. You can be professional and still have a level of authenticity come across on paper.

The saying goes people work for people – and let me tell you, it’s people who hire people. Be it through the design, the wording, the layout, you want your CV to speak to the core of the person reading it; to align to the branding of the kind of company you want to work for; and to speak to the kind of culture it would suit you to work in. For inspiration, there are some free customisable templates in Canva.com to get you started.

5. WORK THE CIRCLE

Meetups & networking groups are awesome ways to increase your knowledge base, and also great ways to increase your network & visibility. One of the first questions recruiters ask themselves after taking a tough brief are ‘who are the thought leaders in this space’.

A good head-hunter will then call those thought leaders and either a) approach them for the role, or b) use a line like this: ‘If you were in my shoes, and this role was in your team, who would you tap on the shoulder for this position?’

Great people recommend great people.

So work your network, and make sure the people in your circle know what you’re great at. A verbal reference goes a long way.

Simple right? As we know, the smallest things are often easy to do and even easier not to do. So separate yourself from the pack, and action these asap.

N.B. If you are in urgent need of a new position, I still recommend keeping an eye out (and depending on your circumstances, some people will need to be more active in this than others), and these additional tips should complement your search well.

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