Submit a post
Go to Blog

How to Become Headhunted on LinkedIn by Recruiters

Nick Cavarretta
How to Become Headhunted on LinkedIn by Recruiters

Are you unemployed, between jobs or looking to step up and into another company? If so and you’re not getting job offers via LinkedIn then this article is for you.

Becoming headhunted via LinkedIn can be overwhelming and positive at the same time, everyone likes being in demand. When optimizing your LinkedIn profile, you’re essentially creating a professional online portfolio that can be discovered in the web.

In this article I will cover a few things about Recruiter, which is the search platform in LinkedIn’s backend. I will also talk about some of the different elements you can optimize yourself, what makes recruiters run away and how appearance can be your ticket to a growing career.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Recruiter on LinkedIn
  2. Your Name Is Your Brand
  3. To Infinity and Beyond
  4. What will turn them away?
  5. Hipsters call it growth hacking
  6. Appearance is key

Introduction to Recruiter on LinkedIn

Have you ever wanted to know how all the great recruitment agencies find specific people? LinkedIn Recruiter is the flagship product and the core of the Talent Solutions platform behind LinkedIn profiles. This is where LinkedIn makes more than half of its revenue, and where recruiters and company owners dig for profiles to build a target list.

In LinkedIn Recruiter, agencies can use the advanced search function to find candidates and build their outreach list. A recruiter can set their target location, postcode, education, years of experience, years in current position and a filtering option to narrow down the search. Once everything is setup to the recruiter requirements, the final stage is to enter a keyword like “designer” or “marketing”.

Just like Google, LinkedIn can use search operators like quotes, AND and OR. A good example is looking for an online marketing specialist that speaks English and German.

(“online marketing” OR “search engine optimization”) AND (English OR German OR Deutsch)

Video: LinkedIn Recruiter | Overview by LinkedIn Talent Solutions

LinkedIn Recruiter is only available to companies that pay for LinkedIn Premium, and when they visit your profileit won’t display that someone checked you out in your insights. The platform is beneficial for recruiters and companies where they can see all your information you’ve provided LinkedIn, and then profile you. Having said that, if you’re privacy heavy and lock down your profiles, then you’re probably not going to get contacted often.

LinkedIn has come a long way since being “Katyfied” but the end goal remains the same, connecting professionals with six degrees of separation.

Your Name Is Your Brand

Now you know how recruiters will find you, it’s time to take steps on giving your profile a makeover and put yourself out there. I won’t extend into keyword research, most of you should already know about that, however if you’re not familiar with keyword research then see this article on bypassing resume filters using keywords so you get the idea. The more information and keywords you provide in your profile, without writing an essay, the more likely you are to show up in narrow searches and be considered for a position.

Another great way to find keywords is to read as many job descriptions for the job you want, pull all the text from the body of the job description into a document then look at the keyword density to pull the most popular keywords. You can compile the text from ten job descriptions and run it through a keyword density tool to see what words you should be including on your profile. An easier way would be to use a WDF (Within Document Frequency) tool.

How do you start showing up on their lists? The trick is to not only optimize your page to be easily discovered, but to optimize it for the recruiter's experience. This is very much the same as optimizing your cover letter to the person you’re sending it to when applying for a job.

Optimizing your LinkedIn profile has more perks than being offered to apply for positions, you’re kicking off a personal branding strategy and enhancing your visibility in the (SERPs_ Search Engine Result Pages for your name. I have also seen some people rank for “* freelancer” AND “* consultant” based keywords when their profiles are set to public.

To Infinity and Beyond

LinkedIn is more than an online resume, it’s a community and networking tool. Many people don’t use it to it’s full extent and leaving themselves open to missed opportunities. Here is some advice on sprucing up your profile to look like an expert level account.

“Creating an online presence in the form of a digital CV is vital as recruiters and potential employers will search for you or your work.” - Cox Purtell

LinkedIn Groups: Joining groups relevant to your industry are a great way to start connecting with new people and sharing content. Start blogging inside LinkedIn or your website, share posts, answer questions and network with others near you.

Find active groups and make yourself familiar with influencers, admins, moderators and people that fit into the “guru” category. A good piece of advice is not to be a sponge and keep silent. Contribute to groups, talk to people, find other groups and extend into building our own groups one you have a network.

Influencers: You can go the extra mile if you have access to BuzzSumo. By looking up popular posts within your industry, you can discover influencers on Twitter, then dig into their profiles to discover them on LinkedIn, which you can do easily with a Chrome Plugin called Discoverly. Recruiters follow influencers because they’re familiar with their surroundings, that’s why they’re successful.

Recruiters circle: Recruiters will often seek information via clients during the interviewing process, this is no different for LinkedIn.

“A lot of the time you're just trying to get information out of the candidates about the place. They might dish the dirt on 'five people are leaving' and that's great because that's five roles you can fill.”  - Former Recruiter (

If you dig yourself into recruitment consultants circles, you will receive emails and/or phone calls from them as you become visible. Search for recruitment agencies in your area and look at the team profiles, most of the time you will see social accounts for you to connect.

Get to the point: If you’re familiar with a press release, whether writing or reading, then you’ll know that people are in a rush and don’t have time to read “kitty cat” fluff. Use your LinkedIn profile to tell the world what you’re capable of, your career path, what you want from your next job and your near future plans.

If you’re not familiar with press releases and don’t feel the need to, I suggest checking out a website called BuzzFeed. They provide “bite sized” chunks of information that caters to Generation Y. Their posts allow you to quickly skim through the content and still get the idea of what the article is about.

What will turn them away?

Now I’ve covered some basics, let’s focus on what drives recruitment consultants away! Often I find that understanding what not to do is the best way to wrap your head around something.

Not keeping your profile updated: Many people update a new position without thinking about updating the old, therefore the previous position is represented in present tense. Make sure all job dates add up, and if you have a gap, then fill it with a freelancer role or unemployed status.

Long Job Descriptions: These don’t need to be extensive, just give a top level overview on what you did in that role, what you specialized in and how you progressed to learning. Simples.

Microsoft Office Endorsements: Sure, if you have a skill you want to show it off right? Well I’m afraid being a “Master of Word” alone is going to land you that secretary job. The trick is to stand out from the crowd, so look for more unique skill sets to put under your “skills and endorsements”.

If you’re great at MS Word then try using skills similar to:

  • Typography in MS Word
  • Corporate MS Word Templates
  • Macros in MS Word

The more of these you list that surround your industry, the more likely you are to show up in narrow searches from recruiters.

Primary School and High School: To put it lightly, nobody cares what primary school you went to, and unless you’re a junior/entry level, nobody will care what you did in high school either. If this is left blank, then I suggest doing some short courses in your industry to show you're actively learning and have the drive to progress.

Many universities offer inexpensive short courses and Coursera is stepping up its game with a certificate being issued via select courses.

Drunk Profile Pictures: This should really be common sense, but unfortunately it is a common occurrence. Many people will use their Facebook profile as their LinkedIn avatar. I wouldn’t recommend it at all, it’s just making it easy for recruiters to categorize you and not in your favor.

Recruiters pride themselves on being able to read someone and categorize them based in the information they’re given. Don’t give them an excuse to categorize in you in the unprofessional and immature category.

Your photo should be a professional picture and fit all cropping that LinkedIn will throw at it. Bonus points if you can make your profile tie in with your header.

Hipsters call it growth hacking

Let’s look at this popular term coined by Sean Ellis. Growth Hacking is nothing more than trying every channel in hopes to grow. This can be applied to a brand name or a person's name. If you’re doing it for yourself, you can spin the term into Personal Branding; I know right, so many buzzwords.

One example of “growth hacking” is exporting your LinkedIn contacts, importing into an EDM (Electronic Direct Mail) platform and sending out an email to potential business owners.

What I want to do is look at this through a recruiter's eyes. They’re going to be looking to do a similar thing for grow their list of prospects.

Are they active? A recruiter will always ask themselves this question first when looking at a profile, since there are so many bot-based profiles on LinkedIn and inactive users. You can tell if someone is active by the information listed on their profile and their activity.

Sharing content is a great way to keep your profile active, plus LinkedIn now allows you to publish posts. Use it as your professional blog without trying to show off how much you know.

“Some users are worried about potential duplicate content issues when re-publishing content on LinkedIn. However, in my experience, this hasn’t negatively affected my articles’ performance. With Google crawling sites every day, they are pretty good at figuring out who the original publisher was. If you’re concerned, try googling a sentence from one of your posts and see what happens. In my experience, Google typically ranks the original post higher than the LinkedIn post; and certainly, I’ve never been penalized for posting the same content on my site and on LinkedIn.” - Jason DeMers

Commenting and Liking posts is another great way to keep yourself active. Read some content shared by others - especially in groups - and ask some questions, reach out to your fellow mentors and make yourself known. Keep it professional, this isn’t Facebook.

Do they have a good network? I know the rules on LinkedIn is to not add people unless you know them personally. Yeah ok, who is policing that? Add as many influencers as possible on LinkedIn, join the groups, get your name out there. One good trick is connecting all your email accounts and importing contacts. Invite people to use the platform and add the people already there. This could spark some new business relationships when people see you’re making an effort.

When you have a good network and you’re doing some PR work, then your network will be notified that you’ve been featured in the news. This is great for getting your name out there and reminding people you exist.

Nick Cavarretta

Appearance is key

If you’ve made it this far in the article then you know about keywords, how to grow your network and what not to do. This section of the article I will give some insight into making your LinkedIn profile look pretty and convert.

Your header: There are some very inspirational images out there and it’s up to you if you want to use a stock image, something you snapped up or something that just defines your personality (like coffee beans).

Your tagline: So many times I see taglines as “owner / director” or “I’m CEO bitch” (reference to The Social Network movie) which is not only unprofessional, nobody cares. What are you the owner/director/CEO of? What are you trying to prove? Making a keyword rich tagline is key to being discovered in LinkedIn and Google Search. Put down exactly what you do, meaning if you’re a front end designer / developer then use a tagline like “Front End Web Developer, Web Designer, Graphic Designer”. It outlines what you do and anyone looking for those skills will click into your profile to read more.

Adding content to job experience: Nothing more boring than reading blocks and blocks of text that bangs on about nothing. Simplify your Job Description and add some creativity to it. This breaks up the text a bit and allows people to have a 5 - 10 second break before reading on. In my experience people will skim down first to see if they can be bothered reading it, so bit-size chunks for the BuzzFeed generation is doing well.

Endorsements: Who has endorsed what skills on your profile? If you don’t have any endorsements, then reach out to people you know and ask them to endorse you for a particular skill. This will show the recruiter how active you are.

Custom URL: You need this! Get a public profile URL to stick into your resume and link back from your website or other profiles.

Conclusion (Too Long, Didn't Read)

To finish off the article, or for those that love the TL;DR section I’ll quickly refresh on a top level what I’ve covered here, it’s a lot to take in.

  • Recruiter: A platform in the backend of LinkedIn that Recruitment Agencies and Business Owners can use to discover people to outreach to and possibly offer a job.
  • Personal Branding: Your name is your brand, find the right keywords and optimize your page for the user experience.
  • Grow Your Network: LinkedIn is essentially a professional social media platform that should be used for networking.
  • Don’t Do This: There are a number of things not to do when optimizing your profile, and I’ve listed a few common ones.
  • Growth Hacking: There are a number of little tricks you can use to grow your network further and put yourself in circles.
  • User Experience: Make your profile appealing and inviting for scrolling down. You want people to remember you, not just discover you and put you in a list.

I wish you luck with your optimization and please leave your LinkedIn profile in the comments section below and I’ll check it out.

Like this post? Follow us on RSS and read more interesting posts:

Nick Cavarretta is an SEO Consultant based in Sydney, Australia.
Share this post


2000 symbols remain
Tara M. Clapper
Great tips, Nick! It does feel like there's a gap between job seekers and recruiters sometimes, no matter how many social connections the seeker may have. Best of luck to anyone searching!
Nick Cavarretta
Tara M. Clapper
Hi Tara, thanks for your feedback. :)

Send feedback

Your feedback must contain at least 3 words (10 characters).

We will only use this email to respond to you on your feedback. Privacy Policy

Thank you for your feedback!