How to get Recognized by Headhunters without Jeopardizing your Current Job

Whether you are unhappy in your current position, looking for a better opportunity, or looking to completely change career paths, job hunting while currently employed can be tricky. The old adage ‘It’s easier to find a job when you have a job’ still rings true for many job hunters. Not to mention, you’d like to be able to pay your bills while your searching. For these reasons, being discreet in your search is important. So how can you get recruiters to notice you without raising red flags with your current employer?

Use Social Media

LinkedIn and Twitter are trolled by many headhunters and are better avenues than Facebook. If you’re not active on these platforms, get active. Start off small, follow some of your favorite companies both inside and outside of your industry. Create a habit of participating in the community everyday.  ‘Like’ and  ‘Retweet’ posts, and try and share some original content as well. The more you participate and the better content you have, the more headhunters will see your name. Make sure your profile states your job title, industry and skill set. Rosemary Heafner, VP of HR at CareerBuilder, believes, “social media is a primary vehicle of communication today. Because much of that communication is public, it’s no surprise some recruiters and hiring managers are tuning in.” Obviously, don’t post that you’re looking for a job or publicly show interest in an open position. However, becoming more active on these platforms will build your social network and help you get in front of recruiters, who hang out on these sites looking for passive candidates.

Go to Networking Events

Network, network, network. Make it your goal to meet the major players in the industry you want to be a part of. Attending networking events takes time and effort and can be a little uncomfortable. But it takes showing up to be in the right place at the right time. The more events you attend, the more comfortable you’ll become and relationships will begin to bloom. Recruiters come to these events looking to build their candidate pool and will recognize familiar faces. Don’t hand out your resume with your business card or imply that you are looking to leave your current role. Keep your conversation around industry trends, what you do in your current role, sharing ideas, etc. and do hand out your business card and contact information. When an opportunity arises, recruiters will come to you.

Be the Best at What You Do

When you’re looking for a new job, it’s easy to check out and not give your current role 100% of your effort. This is the opposite of what you should do. Recruiters want to submit candidates to their clients that are rockstars at their jobs. If you excel at what you do, recruiters will notice you and approach you regardless of whether or not you’ve shown any interest in leaving your current position. Kit Bingham, principal at executive search firm Odgers Berndtson, told CNN, “What gets noticed is success, so the way to get noticed is to be very good at your job. In time, that gets noticed within your organization. What gets gets you noticed within an organization tends to get you noticed outside it as well.”

Maintain Relationships in your Industry

Having a community in your industry is important. Invest in building relationships whether you think they will lead to opportunities or not. Have a handful of people you meet for lunch or coffee on a regular basis. Ask someone you respect within your industry to be your mentor. Try avoiding someone who already works with you or is in a close relationship with your current employer. You don’t want conversations being repeated and an outside perspective could be more beneficial. “Having friends in high places who can vouch for your professional ability can help establish your credibility” advises Bingham.  
Overall, remember to be respectful of your current employer. Don’t forget that while you may be seeking a change, you still have responsibilities in your current position. Don’t badmouth anyone, and keep doing your absolute best in your current role. Stay focused, work hard, and you’ll be pinned by headhunters in no time.

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