How to … appear on a headhunter’s radar

We all like to think that one day we’ll be spotted and asked to take up the job of our dreams, complete with suitable pay and benefits package and privileged lifestyle. But, for most of us, this is unlikely to happen unless people know who you are and what you are capable of

Why is it important?

We all like to think that one day we’ll be spotted and asked to take up the job of our dreams, complete with suitable pay and benefits package and privileged lifestyle. But, for most of us, this is unlikely to happen unless people know who you are and what you are capable of. So put yourself in the frame for a top job by getting on headhunters’ radars.

Rewrite your CV

Ensure you have a clear, concise and up-to-date CV. As well as career history, it should cover key achievements in each position. It is a good idea to provide a one-page summary, with two or three pages providing further detail if the headhunter wants more information.

“There is no need to keep to the magic one page, but if it’s more than three, you risk a busy headhunter deciding they haven’t got time to look at it,”says Victoria Provis, partner, corporate communications and board practice at headhunter Odgers Ray & Berndtson.

She also advises doing some research to find out which individuals in which firms might be interested in you. “At Odgers, we sometimes receive CVs that have been copied to every partner in the firm. These show a lack of basic research skills. Most of this information is available by search on company websites,” she says.

Seek publicity

Raising your profile and maintaining a high visibility are crucial steps to registering on a headhunter’s radar screen.

Make friends with leading reporters at your preferred industry publication and let them know that you are happy to comment or write on various topics and issues. Or get signed up to write a regular column – headhunters’research departments will notice individuals who contribute to and make regular comment in trade media.

Put yourself forward to present at conferences, seminars and other speaking engagements. Make the most of any networking opportunities – headhunters will also canvas journalists and industry commentators for recommendations, so ultimately, the more people who know you, the more likely you are to be noticed.

Create an online portfolio

There is a growing trend to post an online version of a CV to showcase talents and provide a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week reference point for headhunters or prospective employers – wherever they are in the world. The other main benefit is that they offer more scope and space for selling yourself and provide plenty of detail for those who want to find out more about your career history, capabilities and achievements.

Showcase your talents

Flaunt any specialist skills or expertise you possess that are in short supply, or if you have something to offer that the rest of the market doesn’t provide, but is in great demand. Ultimately, if you show promise and are good at what you do, you will become known.

You can also be judged by the company you keep, so hang out with the brightest and best performers in your organisation.

If you do get headhunted

When a headhunting agency does call, it is natural to feel flattered, but you must be careful to manage the situation properly.

Check out its credentials: who are its clients and is it experienced in your sector? Also, make sure you are satisfied with its integrity and confidentiality.

Even if you are neither thinking about nor ready for a career move, it is still worth hearing what it has to say. Some months down the line, you may be ready for such a fresh challenge.

Bear in mind that a good relationship with a headhunter can serve you well for future career moves, not just the next one.

For more info

How to be Headhunted: The Insiders Guide to Making Executive Search Work For You. John Purkiss and Barbara Edlmair, How To Books, ISBN 1845280482

Be Hunted: 12 Secrets to Getting on the Headhunters Radar Screen. Smooch Reynolds, John Wiley & Sons Inc, ISBN 0471410748

By Scott Beagrie. Courtesy of Personnel Today.

Recent articles & video

Alphabet layoffs later this year to be 'much smaller in scale': reports

Elon Musk: Jobs to be optional in 'benign' AI future

2 in 3 Australians OK with date change for Australia Day

Former security services firm fined for failing to act on Compliance Notice

Most Read Articles

1 in 8 new hires leaving during probation: report

FWC finds early notice of end to fixed-term contract amounts to dismissal

Spotless entities plead guilty to long service leave underpayments