So, you have decided that you may be up for a new challenge. You may not know it yet, but your next career opportunity could be in the hands of an executive search firm. Executive Search Specialists – or Headhunters – as we are often called - specialise in finding the strongest possible options for our clients and recruit for positions that often are not listed on job boards.
But how can you ensure that you draw our attention?
Consider these 5 strategies to get on our radar:
1. Boost your visibility
One of the most effective ways of being seen as a talent is to participate in active dialogues within your industry or field. Speaking at events or conferences, moderating or serving on a panel, having articles published or being quoted in relevant articles will all increase your visibility. As a bonus, attending educational or networking events will also allow you to garner valuable information on current trends and opportunities. Join a relevant organisation in your discipline to create and build strategic partnerships within the industry.
“There are several strategies that will help you get noticed by an executive search firm, but the key is to raise your visibility and display your value.”
2. Be recognised for your contributions and achievements
Success is like a magnet, and the ability to make your achievements and contributions visible to others will make you more likely to be approached by a search firm. People who stand out in a positive way are easier to find. Being recognised is also linked to your ability to build a strong personal brand and image. Your ability to effectively lead yourself and communicate the image you want to be associated with by others are truly key. Remember, that a negative reference has the potential to outweigh any positive reference. Essentially, what other people think of you and if they are prone to recommend you will be the difference-maker.
3. Establish your professional value
Search consultants will only present the most qualified individuals that have specific skills and experience to a potential employer. During a recruitment process, this is a key criterion as to whether you may be considered for a role. Sharing your expertise not only helps others in their professional endeavours but is also a way for you to establish your reputation as an expert or specialist. Serving on an advisory board is one way to display your knowledge and industry expertise. Another possibility is taking an adjunct faculty position which not only highlights your commitment to educating future leaders but also allows you to connect and expand your visibility.
4. Strengthen your network
A mistake that people make when they network is that they forget the importance of quality over quantity. While it is beneficial to know many people e.g. in your industry, these connections are meaningless if they are superficial. Your professional relationships should be nurtured consistently and over long term. Not only does this type of behaviour inspire far more genuine connections but also rewards you with a trusted network which will support you and recommend you with enthusiasm when it matters most. Essentially, networking proactively and effectively with peers and across your industry is a strong lever and will increase your chances of being noticed and of being mentioned as a relevant candidate when a headhunter calls on his or her industry sources when recruiting for a position.
5. Embrace the power of social media
The traditional executive search process has been transformed by modern search engines and social networking sites such as LinkedIn, which are now considered to be an important tool by most search firms. Building yourself a compelling social media profile is strongly advised.
Have a clear strategy of where it is appropriate to post your profile, keep all information up-to-date and make sure to keep the professional information and personal information separate. Think of your social media profile as your voice. Share content that is relevant to you and engage thoughtfully with others. Make your articles, industry comments, and/or PR visible online and make it interesting for the reader. While over-exposure is not advisable, a visible presence online will increase your chances of headhunters finding you.
There are several strategies that will help you get noticed by an executive search firm, but the key is to raise your visibility and display your value. Strive to continuously evolve your knowledge and share your expertise. Grow and nurture your network with care. Be aware of industry trends and stay abreast of them. And most importantly, demonstrate your personal competencies throughout to leave a lasting, positive impression on others.