As a career development coach, I am often asked how to find those hidden positions in the job market. Yes, those coveted upper management and executive jobs are not advertised on job boards as they are tightly controlled by executive search firms and contingency recruiters. These positions are the bread and butter of these firms and they are guarded with whom they will share.
With the advent of LinkedIn, search firms have a readily available database of 400 million professionals. They have access to the Recruiter tool that LinkedIn offers on a subscription basis. This tool is also being used by in-house recruiters by smaller and midsize companies to find talent.
So what is the best way to get yourself (or your profile) on the radar of recruiters. These are some tips that have proven to be effective.
- YOUR PHOTO. In eye-tracking studies done on the web, humans prefer to look at faces rather than anything else. Many professionals are camera shy and don’t have a profile with their profile. That is a big mistake as you are likely to get passed over for profiles with a photo. The quality of the photo is also important. A forced fake smile will jump across the screen so think of a pleasant thought when you’re posing for the photo—your job depends on it.
- ATTENTION GETTING TITLE: Just as important as your photo is the title of your profile. LinkedIn automatically selects the title of your most recent job and posts it as your title. However, you have the option of customizing it and I really believe you should. Your title should convey the level of your career and give us the industry niche that you are in, e.g., Marketing Executive, Entertainment or Managing Partner, Tech Start-up.
- PERSONALIZED SUMMARY: This section of your profile should tell your career story–what you’ve accomplished, what you excel in, what is your management style, the types of companies and industries you’ve worked in–all captured in an enticing, engaging story. Your Summary should be personalized and written in first person voice using “I”, unlike your resume which is always written in third person. Your personal story should compel the recruiter to call you and want to get to know you.
- KEYWORD MATCHING: LinkedIn and other job boards recommend that you include in your profile those words that are a match to the position you are seeking. This begins with your profile Title, the keywords in your Summary, Experience, and Skills Endorsement sections (e.g., “Marketing Executive with e-Commerce Expertise”).
- NETWORK IN LINKEDIN: Your goal in social media networking is to caste a wide net and amass as many connections as you can. You can’t predict when a connection in your network may prove to be useful either as a direct connection or indirectly as a 2nd level connection who will introduce you to the desired person. When you are looking for your next job, your goal is to find the in-house recruiters in companies at your desired companies as well as find those recruiters who work with executive search firms. Using the Advanced search feature in LinkedIn, use keywords like “recruiter,” “talent acquisition,” and “executive search,” to find these individuals. If you or the recruiters have premium (paid) account you can send an in-mail message to join their network. If neither of you have a premium account, you can click on the “Connect” button and invitation will be sent and if they accept you will be notified.
- ACCEPT INVITATIONS FROM RECRUITERS: The next time you receive a phone call, email or LinkedIn request from a recruiter, be nice to them and respond and save their information. Even if you’re not currently looking to change jobs, you may need this individual in the future. Provide them referral to another person in your network who may be looking, but it’s important to refer a quality individual who would be a good fit for the position. If you provide a bad referral it will reflect badly on your judgment and professionalism. If you don’t have any contacts with recruiters, ask colleagues and friends to introduce you to recruiters that they may know. Even better, have them make the introduction to you.
Recruiters are busy people and be patient if they don’t get back to you immediately. Remember, if you are not fit for their current listings, they may ignore you. Most recruiters will connect with you; just be persistent and polite.