One of the most flattering things in the professional world is getting headhunted on behalf of a renowned company. If someone rings you out of the blue and takes an interest in you, it is a sure sign that you are doing all the right things in your current job.
When I started my first headhunting firm many years ago, almost every time I approached a candidate on behalf of a prestigious company their self-esteem would instantly be boosted.
It would be a very risky approach to sit back and purely wait to be headhunted but when great opportunities do present themselves over the course over a career it is always important to grasp them. Here are a few ways you can get yourself headhunted.
Build a Brand
I have said before that to get yourself noticed within an industry you need to get out there and network. Attend the right events and talk to the right people. Sometimes CEOs may come directly to you if they remember a conversation you had at some sort of trade events - I have done this before. The key is to not be overly salesy when you meet people - listening is a huge part of networking - but still ensuring they know your quality and reputation. You may even wish to be published in some form - more experienced people in some industries tend to publish white papers, but if you are not at this stage you can write blogs specific to your sector. All of this will help boost your own brand.
Be Digitally Visible
The modern world almost revolves around the Internet and you need to ensure you have a strong presence here if you want to be contacted for the best opportunities. This means ensuring your LinkedIn profile is up to date and professional - new responsibilities should be constantly added on and any projects you have worked on should have their own section. You may also want to consider uploading your latest CV onto all the major job boards. Headhunters usually don't look on here, but it's good to be visible to recruiters the next level down as they still have highly sought after and lucrative roles. It's amazing how many people don't do this and still have their CV from two years ago posted up. Although recruiters may read between the lines and recognise that you've probably developed since then, they will also have a nagging doubt over your attention to detail.
If you've been approached by a headhunter but the opportunity didn't really pan out, that doesn't mean you have to leave it at that. Stay in constant communication with them so you are fresh in their mind for other opportunities. It's all about relationship building - let them know how you are getting on in your current job and what direction you're looking to take. The contact book these people have is incredible, so the more connected you are to them, the more opportunities that can come your way. Also, if they have a vacancy which isn't of interest to you, how about referring them to somebody you know who might be interested? The headhunter will trust you more, and when a better role comes up, you'll be the first person they call.
Go the Extra Mile
It may seem simple and very obvious but the best way to get yourself noticed is to excel at what you do. Things like networking and brand building, which I mentioned earlier, are critical - but there is no substitute for actual output. Go the extra mile on projects and always look to take on responsibility. The harder you work and the better your output, the more word will get around.
As I said it would be dangerous to rely on being headhunted to move your career forward but there are still steps that can be taken to improve your profile and enhance your personal reputation.
For more tips and advice to boost your career, check out my free app available on iPad and Android.