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LinkedIn Tips: How To Get Headhunted Fast And Break Into Your Dream Industry

by Yvette McKenzie
Posted: August 24, 2015

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In the 12 years LinkedIn has been in operation, it has become the go-to portal to rub virtual shoulders with industry heavy weights and flex your own formidable clout. This business-savvy social network now has over 230 million members and has empowered us with personalised job hunting in a complex global market.

Apart from granting you the power to access huge professional networks, LinkedIn now offers a whole new host of features that will flesh out your personal brand and make you stand out like a beacon to your next employer.

But unless you’ve kept abreast of this career goldmine’s ongoing innovations, you’re probably still stuck in ‘LinkedIn 1.0’, mode and being eclipsed by savvier career hunters dominating LinkedIn for the new millennium.

Chances are, you may assume that your current LinkedIn profile passes the employer-luring standard. Your career summary seems sweet, the CV highlights are on point and you’ve even scored a few recommendations.

But in this new environment, serious employers can pay up to $9000 a year for a LinkedIn license, where they have better search capability and the ability to send way more messages to connect with candidates directly. This license also includes some jobs ads and targeting features. So clearly companies have wisened up and are using all manner of tools and technologies to source the best candidates out there.

Are you meeting their criteria and being found?

Director of Inspired Careers Coaching Kylie Butler confirms that it’s becoming more difficult for job seekers to get found or headhunted unless they embrace LinkedIn’s capability. “LinkedIn is now so much more than an online CV. With the introduction of long form publishing, the site is becoming the ultimate content and educational tool, pivotal for building your reputation.” Use this feature to build your credibility as an authority figure by writing insightful content about what is going on in your industry.

“It’s like having your own blog and it’s very easy”, Butler says. “Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where the post lifespan is anywhere between 5-15 minutes, you can usually scroll LinkedIn to find all the posts your network published that day. This slower pace means your published content can get found by a potential employer and on LinkedIn, that’s a very good thing”.

Another key factor to being found with ease is to infuse your profile with industry-specific keywords. “Bulk out your profile with skills that your dream employer may already be searching for”, explains Butler. “A complete profile will allow you to come up in the maximum amount of search results, with various organisations.”

This starts with a compelling headline that boldly states what you can deliver to a potential client. “If you are a social media community manager, have that succinct phrase in there first up. If you want to work in the pharmaceutical industry, then put that in your headline. Hiring managers are scrolling through LinkedIn and scanning for keywords - so what they’re looking for needs to be clearly in your headline. Think; what do I want to be hired for? That is the thing that comes first.”

So what is the art and science of the perfect LinkedIn headline? Butler recommends LinkedIn Insights for suggestions of how to compile a good profile. “It is a very specific brief for each industry so you need to get your strategy right.”

Further, don’t be afraid to state in your headline that you are seeking opportunities. “Make an employer’s life easy. If it says straight up that you’re looking for a job they think, ‘great, they’re available now I don’t need to woo them!’ If you are honest about looking, employers will be more likely to come to you.”

Next, your career summary is a game-changing section for showcasing your passions, experiences and what you can bring to this organisation. Butler reminds that it’s a great chance for your personality to shine through with a narrative, while highlighting your skill set with strong terminology that is a fit for your desired role.

“If you are a graphic designer with technical expertise or expert knowledge, make sure your key tools and technologies of the trade are listed in there, as well as any key responsibilities from your prior jobs. If you’re a media planner have the specifics of your job description in there too, as well as a list of all the software you use. If you work in accounting, do mention all management accountancy software you’re versed in.” The point is, your tools of the trade need to be in that summary. When putting your profile together, always ask what tasks is your dream employer hiring for?

Flowing down the page, next we encounter your employment history section and refreshingly, the pros say that this doesn't require too much length. “Just use the highlights from your roles and make it easy for an employer to skim - you don’t need to go in too much depth and a few sentences and key achievements per role will do”, reassures Butler.

However a key element which will make your profile shine is eye-catching rich media. This includes professional photos (not a selfie at a conference!) a photo with some colleagues, product launches and any other quality images that will add colour and depth to each role.

“Statistics show that an employer will stay a lot more on your profile if there’s images,” says Butler. Make the effort because it makes your profile compelling and has potential prospects stay longer on your LinkedIn page”.

Now that your profile is sparkly, media and keyword rich, it’s time to show the LinkedIn community what you’re worth. Publishing is the perfect avenue if you have something to say and position yourself as an opinion leader.

“If you do not have an active blog, some of that long form content can do wonders for your thought leadership. Have an opinion as to what’s happening within your industry and allow your peers an opportunity to engage,” Butler says. “Similarly, read and comment on other people’s posts. Be thoughtful, respectful and invite discussion.”

So how do you make sure everyone sees your post?

“Go in and connect to anyone you’ve ever worked with before you publish. LinkedIn is professional - this is not Facebook, so you don't need to be overly cautious. It’s the one network where you want your best employers on board! So, do connect with all professional contacts.”

How do you connect with influencers and in general, keep your profile top of mind with those that matter?

Butler maintains the importance of a network with colleagues - without going past groups in area of specialty. “There are so many niche ones. If you’re an entrepreneur, women in business, women in media, then join the group and join in the conversation. You’ll get updates about what people are posting as well as get into a dialogue with people.”

To be innovative in your job hunt, look beyond job ads and utilise company pages. If they are advertising jobs, then reach out to senior hiring people in your organisations of choice. Introduce yourself; they may be planning to hire soon.

For reach-out etiquette, Butler recommends the ‘two-pronged approach’ to adding a connection. “If they don't know you from Adam, put a short message in your initial reach out, such as ‘keen to connect with you because we’re both in the same social media group’. Or, ‘I am interested in a careers at (chosen organisation), plus your reason why’”. Then once connected, write a longer email citing your intentions.

And what of those contact requests that are a bit more… random?

“If a person you don’t know at all wants to connect and they haven't given you a reason as to why they're adding you, don’t feel obliged to accept their request,” Butler says. “But do consider accepting second and third connections - it just means that you both build up your audience, yet still share networks in common.”

Finally, the most important thing about LinkedIn is your commitment and tenacity. Be on there every day. Look for the jobs, expand your networks, connect within groups and add to the conversation as a part of building your personal brand.

“LinkedIn is the forum, the right channel to express a business relationship,” Butler adds. “Send a connection request explaining that you’re interested in working for this firm. Introduce yourself, mention your area of expertise and the role you’re looking for. And most of all, ask them to keep you top of mind.”

So what’s your next step to be a LinkedIn career ninja? Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal employer. What are the business challenges that keep them up at night? With LinkedIn, you can position yourself as the solution. Speak to the heart of their matter with our tips and most of all, don’t forget to add those awesome pictures.

If you want to know more about how you can use LinkedIn for job hunting check out our LinkedIn Resume Tips.



Yvette has over a decade of professional experience at some of Australia’s largest media corporations, including Southern Cross Austereo and the Macquarie Media Network. With a degree in Communications (majoring in Journalism), she covers stories on education, new knowledge technologies and independent learning.

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