How To: Catch the Eye of a Headhunter

By Career Savvy

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If you’re already in employment and looking to move on to a more senior role, or you’re searching for a job which demands a very specialised skill set, you’ll need to capture the attention of a headhunter. It is their job to find the best people for their client’s vacancy, so you need a headhunter to not only notice you, but to select you as the perfect candidate. So what can you do to catch their eye?

Put yourself out there.
Your visibility is vital when it comes to giving yourself the best chance of being seen by a headhunter. You need to focus on networking and improving your reputation both online and in person. You can do this by making sure you’re optimising professional social media sites such as LinkedIn by commenting on subjects associated with your industry and getting involved in relevant group discussions. If you’re up to date with industry news and recognised for your knowledge of the role/sector you work in, headhunters are more likely to notice you. It’s also important to make a good impression face to face at networking events. If possible, get involved in speaking at a seminar on a subject that you’re passionate about and is related to your career path. At the very least, develop your interpersonal skills by introducing yourself to people and handing out your business card so you can get your name out there. If your efforts encourage someone to give a referral to a headhunter, then your mission has succeeded.

Show off your skill set.
Headhunters will be looking for candidates with both an impressive academic background and employment history. You need to make sure your achievements, both in terms of your education and work experience, are not only evident on your CV but are recognised by important people in the industry via your LinkedIn profile and word of mouth. It’s also important to show off your soft skills, such as teamwork and leadership, as these are popular qualities headhunters look for. Think about what makes you different in terms of other candidates: have you experienced a particular role that has developed your skill set in an uncommon but beneficial way? If there is anything you believe you’re missing from your skill set that would improve your chances of being selected by a headhunter, then make sure you address this. For instance, take a relevant course and obtain a qualification related to the role you desire or even learn a language.

Excel in your current role.
Just because you’re in the process of searching for a new opportunity, don’t let your standards slip in your current role. If you’re not succeeding in your job then a headhunter is less likely to consider you for their vacancy, or perhaps even notice you at all. You need word to spread about you, but you want this to be completely positive in order to succeed. Make sure people are talking about your achievements and how you’re a great person to work with. After all, you never know who they might know and/or be able to put you in contact with.

Use a direct approach.
There’s nothing wrong with getting in touch with search firms and/or headhunters directly. Before you do so, however, take some time to find the right firm or headhunter for you. Research which ones match your skills and experience best and then put in a request to be included on their record of potential candidates. Once you’ve formed a relationship with your headhunter, keep in contact with them regularly to ensure you’re quick to hear about any suitable opportunities. Even if they call you when you’re not ready to leave your current position, it’s always best to hear them out and stay in touch as you never know when you might need their help.

So if you’re looking for a senior role or one that requires a specialised skill set, make sure you’re optimising your chances of getting spotted by a headhunter. If you can present yourself as a strong candidate by following the tips above, then they’re more likely to put you forward to their client as someone who is perfect for their vacancy.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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