How to attract headhunters to your LinkedIn profile

The following couple of quick tips come from my 10 years of working with LinkedIn and my experience as a counsellor for executive job seekers with AS3 Executive. Anne Thommesen, communications advisor at AS3 Executive and owner of communications company, Gerade.

Increase your visibility on LinkedIn with a searchable, readable and durable profile

By Anne Thommesen, communications advisor at AS3 Executive and owner of communications company, Gerade.

If you are going to read this article, you need to have bought into the idea that you (of course) have to have a LinkedIn profile when seeking employment, executive or not. I have reserved space for the most essential tips on how to make your profile interesting.

Please be aware that there are many opinions about what makes a good LinkedIn profile, and that you can find many helpful and detailed guides on the Internet. LinkedIn's own Help Center is also a good place to be aware of, because its individual functionalities are constantly modified and optimised, and this is where you will find the guides that are most up to date.

The following couple of quick tips come from a decade of working with LinkedIn and my experience as a counsellor for executive job seekers with AS3 Executive.

Generally, I swear by three main rules for a LinkedIn profile. It must be:

SEARCHABLE i.e. of interest to search engines. It must contain the right keywords so that you show up in the right searches. Like Google, search engines are based on algorithms and they search first and foremost in headlines and in the frequency of keywords in each profile. And finally, it is of course also true that the more complete your profile is, the more active you are on LinkedIn, and the bigger your network, the more search engines will “like” you.

READABLE i.e. of interest to people. It must have substance and be catchy enough to make people click on your profile in the list of summaries, keep on reading and save your profile. 

DURABLE, by which I partly mean that you need to keep it updated all of the time and partly that you must be able to support everything you include with examples, etc. if you are asked for details about what you have written.

And now for the practical task of the profile. Remember to turn off updates first of all, so your network does not get spammed with all your corrections. Alternatively, start by writing your draft version in Word, so you can begin doing the work behind the scenes.

1. Highlight your competences

It is most common to write your title and company in the box just below your name. As someone looking for a job, you might benefit more by highlighting your competences and professional disciplines. Headhunters use LinkedIn as a search tool, so (obviously) your goal is to appear in the right searches. Before the headhunter arrives at your page, he or she will see a search result with a long list of candidates. So not only do you want to appear on the first page of the search results, but you also need to stand out from other candidates in the overview.

You have a total of 120 characters at your disposal in the field beneath your name and title. Use them all to make sure that you include your career level, your industry/professional field and your core competences/keywords. It could be something along the lines of:

Sales executive | B2B | Solution Selling | Customer Centric | Business Development | International | Customer Relations | General Management

If you are completing an AS3 Executive programme, I would suggest that you use your counsellor to identify the keywords that are most important to your profile. Once you have defined your keywords, you must then ensure that they recur and appear where relevant, once again in the titles, if possible. Search engines primarily search in headlines and body text. So under “Experience”, for example, you should once again emphasise your competences in relation to the actual titles.

2. Give a little of yourself and stand out from the crowd

I see many LinkedIn profiles with no summary. This is a shame. First of all, this is an opportunity to use keywords and increase your chances in relation to headhunters' searches. Secondly, this is where you can bring colour to your profile and make it unique compared to all the others with the same keywords as you have used. The way you choose to do this should, of course, be consistent with your personality, taste and style. The introduction is the most important. If this fails to grab attention, we read no further.

There is the formal style, which is reminiscent of the summary in a classic CV. E.g.:

Sales Executive with customer focus, business acumen and international experience

I have xx years’ experience from international companies like xxx, xxx and xxx. Most recently I have been General Manager for xx-company in yy-country overseeing xxx…

Others are more playful and use a more personal approach, with a view to standing out. E.g.:

Back in the schoolyard I was the one to drive the hardest bargain when swapping football cards, and I always came out with the best collection. I have been fine tuning and practising my negotiation talent ever since, most recently as Sales Director in xx-company, where I have landed the top 10 customer accounts

And then there is the approach in which opinions and professional perspectives are meant to grab the attention:

I believe that people buy from people, and that the greatest talents in Sales are the ones who can build relations and actually understand the customers. I have successfully used my recipe for excellent customer relations in companies like xxx.

There are many possible options. You can also include pictures to make it more visual. Play with it, but start small and do not get too excited about the numerous fun things you can do. And make sure that you have included your keywords in all of this. Before publication, it is a good idea to try it out on someone you know or, of course, with your counsellor.

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