New Job: How to make it easier for headhunters to find you

How applicants should position themselves correctly in the social business networks to find a new job
by Birgit Bruns and Joachim Schossau

Finding a new job is not a simple matter. The search generally involves a very large amount of effort. For some time now there has been an additional way to find your next professional challenge. Because if you are looking for a job, you can now also position yourself with your profile in the business networks in the internet. After all, more and more employers and HR consultants now search there for qualified and often highly-specialised employees. Having your own profile at XING is therefore an absolute must in the German-speaking countries. If you are looking for an international challenge, it is best to set up a profile at LinkedIn. In order to be found and to be sent job vacancies, it is important to bear several points in mind. We have put together a number of tips here – especially concerning XING – which also apply to LinkedIn, however.

Privacy: How much should your network know?

It may sound quite simple, but if you want other people to find you at XING for example, you have to issue an authorisation, otherwise you can only receive messages from people who already belong to your network. This means that HR consultants or personnel officers from companies will not be able to send you suitable job offers via this network.
How can you change this? On your XING page there is a toolbar on the far left. Click on the “wheel” symbol at the bottom (Settings) and then on the “Privacy” tab. You can enter the selected information here.

If you do not want your colleagues to see that you have updated your curriculum vitae, you can also block these messages. To do this you have to go to the bottom “wheel” (Settings) symbol in the toolbar on the start page again, click on “Privacy” and select the heading “Your Activities”. Here you can choose which points will be visible in your network and which will not be visible.


When you should not change your XING photo

One thing you should not change, by the way, when you want to search for a new job, is your photo. Why? If your colleagues or your boss (who are bound to be in your network) see your new photo, rumours could spread swiftly because the people around you will be wondering why you have updated your application photo. In order not to fall into this kind of trap, leave your photo just as it is on the internet. However, you should always add the new photo to your application documents.
If you wish to be contacted by other XING members who want to fill a job vacancy and are therefore seeking someone like you, you should go to the “Edit Career Aims” section of your profile, and make sure you click on “Actively Seeking New Position”. You will find this heading on your personal profile (About Me) page at the top of the right column. Should you not currently be seeking a job or are not currently interested in offers, you can also select this. If you are seeking a job, but you do not wish your employer or colleagues to see this, you can limit visibility of your career aims to “Recruiter Only”. This means that only XING members who are working with the XING talent manager can read this in your profile. You also have the option to make this visible for “Contacts and Recruiters” or “All XING Members”.


Positioning: Where should my career path take me?

In the first place, you should have a clear idea of what you have to offer a potential new employer in terms of qualifications and experience. From these you can derive important keywords as headings which recruiters can search for at XING. You should enter these keywords in your “Haves” section. Before you start writing the first applications for your new job, make sure your activities have a clear aim. Where should my career path take me? What kind of job do I want next? The keywords you enter in the “Wants” section should be selected to reflect this. As soon as your “Wants” section is filled out with your keywords, you should search for profiles and jobs using your keywords, in order to find out how suitable your keywords are.
You should also definitely include the word “challenge” in your profile, because HR departments and recruiters also search for this word. But beware: you should only include this keyword in your “Wants” section when there is no reason not to communicate this openly. This would be the case for example if you have already agreed with your current employer that you are to leave the company.


Curriculum Vitae

Under the heading Professional Experience, it is important not only to enter the job title and name of the company, but also the internet address and/or a brief description of the company and your own responsibilities. Here you should always take care to ensure that all information about the company including the internet address are up to date.
It is even better if you give a brief description of your achievements in the respective company, so that someone viewing your profile can get a good idea of what you are capable of, and what you can contribute to a company. After all, you are using your XING profile to “sell” yourself.
In this process you also provide keywords with which other people can find you. It might be important to avoid special individual job titles, to make it easier for HR officers and recruiters to find you. You can still enter your actual job title in brackets.
You should make sure that you include months in the dates for your professional positions. This enables XING to calculate the duration of the respective professional experience automatically and depict this visually in the form of small circles (short duration) or large circles (longer durations). At this point you ought to consider whether you should also include minor positions in the distant past such as temporary or student jobs which are no longer relevant to your current area of work, when you already have sufficiently broad experience in your specialist area.
At XING you can upload pdf files. Consider whether it is a good idea for example to upload your curriculum vitae (in German and if necessary in English) or other documents (e.g. publications).
Under the heading “Qualifications” at XING, you can present your supplementary qualifications very well. For example, you can use this heading to show in which software or programming language you have particularly good skills, as these terms are also important keywords with which applicants can be found via the business portals on the internet.
Languages are becoming increasingly important, and XING not only allows you to show which languages you speak, but also at what level your skills are. If you have acquired foreign languages, you should definitely enter this information. This also applies to the current level of your skills. Select the appropriate option from “Native Speaker”, “Fluent”, “Good”, and “Basic Skills”.
Should changes occur in your curriculum vitae, you should enter these updates at best immediately.


Benchmarking: How do other people perceive your profile?

Look at other people’s profiles, and consider what appeals to you and what does not. Adapt your own profile accordingly. Here you can also search using your job title and view appropriate profiles.
Show your profile to people you trust and ask them to give you their honest opinion.
Ideally these should be people who have some experience of applications and of the internet, and who can tell you about their own plans. There are also professionals, however, who you can consult to obtain such advice.


Upgraded XING memberships which can be worthwhile

For those who wish to make more intensive use of XING, the business network offers even more functions in the scope of a premium membership. XING Premium offers members the option of seeing who views your profile for example, expanded filters for the search function and also the option of sending messages to “non-contacts”. It also enables the function for sending messages with attachments. This function can be used by job seekers to send their curriculum vitae directly via XING, for example. The cost of a monthly subscription for XING Premium membership varies, depending on whether you sign up for three or six months.

For those who wish to be even more proactive in their job search via XING, there is XING ProJobs. The membership subscription is considerably more expensive than XING Premium, but it allows you to make your profile even more attractive and transparent for recruiters. Depending on how many months you sign up for, XING ProJobs membership costs between € 17.45 and € 27.95 – XING Premium membership included. In order to present themselves in the best way, ProJobs allows applicants to make their profile exclusively available to recruiters with additional information, e.g. with information about responsibilities in their last job. The function which allows you to decide who will have access to this information, and especially who will not have access, is especially practical here. As well as making their profile more attractive and more transparent, applicants can have their profile evaluated by professionals free of charge via ProJobs, and receive tips on how to improve it. They also receive access to exclusive job vacancies with an annual salary of at least € 50,000.


Me On the Web

If you also have profiles in other social networks such as Facebook or Google+, you should make sure that there are no photos or other content which depict you or the people you know in a way which might not be suitable for your world of work. If these kinds of photos or content have to be published, it is important that your own account is not publicly visible, and thus classified private and only visible for your own internet friends.

Facial recognition: Facebook has been using automatic facial recognition for some time now. If your face is identified in a Facebook photo, the photo is tagged and every user can see who the person in the photo is. If you do not want to be recognised and tagged in photos automatically, you can deactivate this function.


Ego Googling

You can carry out a check now and then by Googling yourself. This so-called ego Googling shows you what kind of impression people who search for you in the web will get. In order to enable systematic ego Googling and to be informed immediately when someone posts something about you, Google has now introduced a new function. Everyone who has a Google account can use the “Me On the Web” function free of charge.


About Us

BBRecruiting Personnel Consulting is a specialist recruitment firm with offices in Düsseldorf, Berlin and Hamburg, which specialises in searching for specialist and management staff via direct headhunting in the social media. Using this methodical headhunting approach, we find targeted high quality specialist and management staff for companies in the industrial, trade and services sectors and successfully fill vacancies.