Getting noticed by headhunters on LinkedIn is a lot like marketing a fancy product.

Imagine you are a shiny, one-of-a-kind item, but no one knows about you…yet.  Your goal is to be discovered by someone that will find you useful and take care of you, but how do you do that?

You look around and notice some products send “junk mail” to the local neighborhoods, hoping that they will be picked out of a stack of other competing advertisements.  Some products sit on a shelf at the back of the group, waiting for their turn to come.  Lastly, some products go door to door, hoping someone won’t be bothered to ignore their passion to be purchased.

Are we not all our own brands? Yet, I’ve noticed we often market ourselves in a similar manner, like a cheap, disposable, trinket.

For instance, how many times have you read a job search article where they talk about Joe Smith sending out 100 resumes and still not getting the job. Are resumes alone, not much different than junk mail to some hiring managers?

Even when our resumes do go out, how often do they sit in a pile of similar resumes, while you rely on someone to pick yours out?  Or have you ever driven around the neighborhood like a high school teenager, looking for “Now Hiring” signs.

These are all frustrating and time consuming methods, that have a high likelihood of leaving you unfulfilled even if you do land the job.  What if people came to you with great fitting job opportunities? That’s what LinkedIn can offer…if you do it right.

How LinkedIn Will Make Your Job Search 10 Times Easier

LinkedIn is the place where more recruiters are finding qualified job candidates.  Two years ago 67% of recruiters used LinkedIn, now it’s up to 95%.  Today 69 of the Fortune 100 companies have a page on LinkedIn.

Learning the skills to market your LinkedIn profile can pull great opportunities in your direction.  In the past week, I’ve been approached by two headhunters for great paying positions (see below).  If a recent college grad like myself can have these opportunities coming in a recession, you can do the same.

Step 1. Make Your Profile Keyword Rich

The first step to getting noticed by headhunters is to make your profile keyword rich. Unlike Google, LinkedIn’s search is almost completely driven by keyword density. You can test this by searching for “social media”.  Look at the first person that comes up and note how many times they use “social media” in their profile.

So what keywords should I use?  Recruiters usually search for two things; titles/skills and location. You can find the skills to use as keywords by reviewing job descriptions for the next position you seek.

Once you have the keywords you want to show up for, start using them in the following sections of your LinkedIn profile; Summary, Specialties, and Experience.

Keep it looking natural and meaningful where you use those words.  Some people go overboard such as this guy.  He may get noticed, but what hiring manager would be impressed by someone who spams their profile full of keywords meaninglessly?

Step 2.  Join Your Industry’s Groups

Have you ever noticed every time you check your home page of LinkedIn there are those people who are joining a million groups? You might have tried some for yourself but found them less than engaging.  It turns out there is a secondary reason for being a part of these industry oriented groups.  Recruiters love them.

If you are a recruiter and you search for “Phoenix Social Media” and you find mostly candidates like this guy again, you are not going to be very satisfied.  So you go to the next best area and look inside the targeted industry groups for professionals that match your search.

When you are approached by a recruiter, take the opportunity to see what groups they are a part of and join the ones that match your skill set.

Step 3.  Get to 500 Connections

This step is definitely the hardest, but has good support for why it’s necessary.  Right now if you have less than 100 connections, you are only going to appear in about 3% of the searches.  Compare that to those who have over 500 connections.  They come up in over 90% of the searches.

Whatever you do, don’t start asking just anyone to be a connection in order for you to reach that goal. If they respond to your request by selecting, “I don’t know them,” LinkedIn will make it so you can’t send any future requests without an email address.

There are ways to get there without having to know 500 people on LinkedIn.  Start with coworkers, family, friends, club members, etc.  Once you have a decent base of contacts go to the “People You May Know” section of LinkedIn and look for anyone that your contacts may know that you forgot about.

What if you’ve done that and still don’t have 500? At this point I suggest looking for local groups on LinkedIn, searching for similar professionals, and sending them a personal note about why it would be valuable for the two of you to connect.

For example, I’m personally a member of an active local networking group called Connected In the East Valley.  Everyone in the group already has a connection because we live in the same suburb region.  I did an advanced search inside of only this group for the keyword Marketing.

Then I sent the following message;

I noticed we both are in the Connected in the East Valley group. I live in … myself.

I wanted to connect with other professionals with marketing experience in the group in case we ever wanted to pass on job opportunities, share ideas, get help, or recommend resources.

Hope to connect with you.


I’m seeing a very high acceptance rate with this approach and should be able to reach my goal fairly soon.  I’m confident you can be successful with a similar approach.


I know many of the people who read this are also bloggers or entrepreneurs as well.  I’d be happy to connect with you to help start building your momentum.  You can find my profile here.

Let me know what questions you have or any strategies you’ve found successful in the comments below.

image courtesy of Mays Business School

21 thoughts on “How to Get Noticed by Headhunters on LinkedIn

  1. Rich Tyler

    What a great article. I am relatively new to LinkedIn. I have heard about websites such as LinkedIn and their importance in networking. Your article has certainly opened my eyes into the importance of updating my profile, etc.

    I look forward to your next posts.

  2. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks Rich, I appreciate the feedback. LinkedIn is a crucial tool for building a career in the market today.

  3. Neal Mody


    Interesting article, I can apply the info here to a number of different things and I will.

  4. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks Neal,

    It’s a great passive job search source. Meaning you can set it and forget it. If done well and your skills are relevant you can get some fairly good offers that fit what you want to do.


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  7. Whenever you pick up a magazine or a newspaper, there it is, too.
    Distractions can come in the form of pop-up ads, emails, instant messages, and those are only from the computer.
    You could possibly encounter a similar successful folks on social networks consistently.

  8. Lienna

    Nice post, as you already know from the comments above; I thought it would still be nice to say it again. Thanks for the tips.

  9. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks Lienna,

    Always appreciate the comments.

  10. Bryce,
    I feel honored to say that in my humble opinion LinkedIn is the best social network in the world.
    It’s like the middle class of America and the world all together in one big board room “collectively” with the power to shape and change the world, but the most wonderful part is that we can design it in any fashion that we desire. That picture could be absolutely beautiful if we do it with love.

  11. Excellent article. Yes, essentially, job seekers must be great at marketing and social media. You can be the world’s most talented candidate in your field, but if you can’t be found then it’s all for naught.

  12. Bryce Christiansen

    Exactly Brian.

    What’s the point of doing all this great work if no one knows you’re doing it? How will you ever get the opportunities you are searching for?


  13. Leslie Adam

    I found this article to be filled with great information. I’m struggling with coming up with my approach and basically what to say in my summary. I know what and how I got here and the business plan but putting it into words is very challenging (writing is not my area, unless it’s research). I’m a RN and that’s all I know and that’s how I think so that’s how I write.

    Thank you for all the information, I believe it will prove to be very helpful to me.

  14. Bryce Christiansen

    Hi Leslie,

    If writing isn’t your strength, it might be good to have a friend or family member who is skilled in that area help write your summary.

    Including the advice in this article, you can check out some great examples of LinkedIn summaries here.


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