How to be found by the headhunter on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not “just” a platform for your online resume but also a platform for personal branding. LinkedIn is where we make ourselves visible to our network, partners, customers and perhaps our future workplace(s). In this article, we describe what headhunters look for on LinkedIn and what elements you should remember on your personal profile.  

To get more in-depth insight into what headhunters look for when seeking candidates on LinkedIn, we interviewed CEO, Henrik Brabrand, of the executive search company Albright Partners A/S.

LinkedIn is an important platform

LinkedIn is an important platform in relation to recruiting and HR. LinkedIn is often used because it works both as a personal website and as an online CV. According to Henrik Brabrand, all potential candidates for a new job will be vetted on LinkedIn as well as on other social media platforms. However, LinkedIn is the most important platform – and at Digital Works, we receive the same answer when asking other organizations.

What headhunters look for on your LinkedIn profile

Headhunters look for many different things when checking your LinkedIn profile. According to Henrik Brabrand, the following points are particularly essential to highlight in relation to what headhunters look for:

1. The right keywords

Keywords are important and can be improved several places on your LinkedIn profile – skills, description of experience, headline, etc. When a headhunter or an organization is looking for candidates, they often use the search function on LinkedIn – and here, the keywords you have used are an important factor in helping you to be found. Not only are the keywords essential for you to be found by the headhunter, but they also reflect your skill in representing yourself and showing your professional ambitions.

2. Tell a good story

Headhunters look for your ability to create a good flow on your profile – whether you manage to tell a good, coherent story. This competency is strongly linked to your ability to express yourself, which is demanded in many positions.

3. Create a pattern

Creating a clear pattern is also relevant in relation to the point stated above. Creating a pattern means showing cohesion in the choices you have made, by others’ recommendations, and in your skills and experience. If, for example, four references highlight the same thing about you, it must indicate that there is some truth to it. Conversely, four very diverse references can create doubt about what is actually true.

4. Skills / endorsements

Also, do not underestimate the value of skills and endorsements, which, according to Henrik Brabrand, are used more than you might think. Skills and endorsements functions well as keywords when being recruited for a position. Consistency between skills, endorsements, and the full picture on your profile can also emphasize a pattern and the general flow of your profile which is something headhunters look for.

5. Don’t be afraid to show your results

Many people have a tendency to lose focus on their results and what they have accomplished in their previous positions. However, the fact is that, just as with your physical CV, your LinkedIn profile should focus on your results. Results are not necessarily X number of sales made or Y amount of money saved but can be some of the processes you have implemented, campaigns you have launched, or projects you have completed.

Do you want more tips on what to include on your LinkedIn profile? Then read: 10 important things on your personal LinkedIn profile

Ensure the quality of everything you upload

LinkedIn is the medium of opportunities – you can upload everything from recommendations and skills to publications for projects and volunteer work. Here, headhunters look for consistency as it is not necessarily a good thing to fill out all the fields. It might be better to prioritize, ensure the quality of what you choose to highlight, and continuously create consistency between your experiences and choices.

Absolute no-go’s

There are a number of warning signs that will get headhunters to distance themselves from your CV on LinkedIn. Remember, that headhunters look for:

  1. Spelling errors and confusing language are signs of general sloppiness – which is not one of the qualities appreciated by any future employer.
  2. An unprofessional tone on LinkedIn may be a sign of poor judgment.
  3. When there are significant differences between your LinkedIn profile and your physical CV.  Some differences are allowed as the physical CV is targeted to a concrete position. However, all facts, such as working periods, employers, and training, must be in order.
  4. Frequent job changes or significant gaps in your CV can also be a concern. However, if significant gaps in your CV or frequent job changes are a reality, a brief description of the motivation for your choices can make up for this.

In short – what headhunters look for

We have collected a summary of the most important points in relation to what headhunters look for. You can use these in your further work to build a strong LinkedIn profile.

  • Make sure there is consistency in your profile
  • Proofreading – do it yourself or get someone else to do it
  • Explain your motivation for ‘non-logical’ choices that break the pattern
  • Focus on results – what have you previously achieved?
  • Remember to ensure the quality of everything you upload – and do on-going reviews
  • Make a sharp elevator pitch
  • Keep the text short and concrete
  • Have a professional profile photo taken

Good luck with your profile.

What do you do to optimize your LinkedIn profile?

Share your advice for a better LinkedIn profile below.

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