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

How applicants can present themselves in the social business networks to find a new job

by Birgit Bruns

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. If you are looking for a new job, you can present yourself in the social business networks. 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 do you want your network to know about you?

It may sound simple, but if you want other people to find yourself on the internet, you will have to allow them to see your profile. If you don´t you can only receive messages from people who already belong to your network. This means that recruiters will not be able to send suitable job offers to you.
So how can you change this? For your profile you always have different settings and there you can activate a privacy function. It is your decision on what you want to let people know now.

If you do not want your colleagues to see that you have updated your CV, you can always block messages that let them know this. To do this you again change the settings. For this you would click on “Privacy” and select the heading “Your Activities”. Here you can choose what will be visible for your network and which will not.

When you don´t want to change your photo

One thing you should not change, when you want to search for a new job, is your photo. So why is that? If your colleagues or your boss who probably are part of your online network see your new photo, rumours could spread. People around you will be wondering why you have updated your internet photo. In order to miss out 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 want to be contacted by other members who might recruit for a job vacancy and are therefore looking someone like you, you should adjust the career goals section in your profile. There you might want to chose the option “actively seeking new position”. Only recruiters with a special and very expensive recruiter membership will be able to see this information. Should you currently  be just interested in offers, you can always select this option. Or you can let people know that you are not interested in a new job at all.

Positioning for the new job: Where should my career path take me?

In the first place, you should have a clear idea of what you have to offer for a new employer in terms of qualification and experience. From these you can derive important keywords as headings which recruiters can search for at XING or LinkedIn. 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.

How a good CV helps you find a new job

When you describe your professional experience, it is very important not to enter just the job title and name of the company. There you might also want to add the internet address and/or a brief description of the company you work for. And you can also describe some of your main job responsibilities. Here you should always ensure that all information about the company including the internet address are up to date.

You can also write a brief description of your achievements in the respective company. That way 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 or LinkedIn profile to take yourself to market.
When you want people to find your profile on the internet never underestimate keywords. Those are important for people to find you. It might also be important to avoid special individual job titles. Because people probably won´t look for a guru or an evangelist. To make it easier for recruiters and others to find you think about which would be the right keywords to identify you with. And if you want you can still enter a fancy actual job title in brackets.

Make sure you take care of the Details

Please 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).

Languages and Qualifications

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?

Have a 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 memberships which can be worthwhile to find a new job

For those who want to make intense use of the social business networks there are more functions available with a premium membership. XING Premium for instance offers the option of seeing who views your profile for example. Expanded filters for the search function and also the option of sending some messages to “non-contacts” each month are offered. The premium function also enables to send messages with attachments. This function can be used by job seekers to send their CV for example. The cost of a premium membership varies, depending on the package you sign up for.

XING Premium or ProJobs?

For those who are active job searchers there is a wide variety of memberships to chose from. If you want to go for a paid membership you will be allowed to design your profile with more information. Depending on how many months you will sign up for such memberships of course cost more. In order to present yourself in the best way, you might want to make certain information exclusively available for recruiters, e.g. certain responsibilities in your last job. This also allows you to decide on who will have access to your information. This is quite good to make sure. To make one´s own profile even more appealing, applicants can have their profile evaluated by professionals. On Xing this service is only available to ProJobs members. As such one also has access to very qualified job offers with an annual salary of more than 50,000 Euros per year.

Me On the Web

If you also have profiles on other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, make sure that there are no photos or other content which would depict you or the people you know in a way which might not be suitable for your world of work. If such photos or content has 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.

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 about you, Google has provides a special 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 and headhunter agency with offices in Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich, which specialises in searching for specialist and management staff via direct search in the social business networks. Using this methodical headhunter approach, we find targeted highly qualified specialists and management staff for companies in the industrial, trade and services sectors and  fill vacancies successfully for German and international companies.