With over 90 million users representing over 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is a fast-growing professional networking site that allows you to:
• Connect with your network of contacts
• Find and connect with people you have lost track of
• Search and follow companies in which you have an interest
• Find out who is currently working for a target company and what his or her title is
• Find people in your network who work at your target company
• Find contacts to help you learn more about a company or opportunity
• Search and apply for jobs
• Find out who posted a position and communicate with the recruiter (job poster) before applying
• Join groups and network — or start your own group
• Post questions and polls
• Answer questions and position yourself as a subject matter expert and/or thought leader
Out of the 90 million members worldwide, I conducted a search to see how many members are recruiters. Here are my findings:
Search string used: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search
Results: 539,789 members
Search string used: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search OR employment agency
Results: 921,609 members
Oddly enough a search on: recruiter OR search consultant OR headhunter OR executive search OR employment agency OR staffing agency OR personnel agency — netted the same number of results, 921,609.
Using the same search terms, I searched the Groups category. The results indicated that there are more than 900 Recruiter Groups and 202 Executive Search Firm Groups. The largest single Group of recruiters has 198,151 members worldwide.
As you can see, a basic membership (no fee) in LinkedIn can put you in front of thousands of recruiters 24×7. The key to getting found by these recruiters is your profile and more specifically your summary and specialties section. When a recruiter conducts a search for candidates, he or she only spends 10-20 SECONDS reviewing your profile. Following is a partial list of what recruiters and executive search consultants look for in your LinkedIn profile:
• Industry — Most recruiters are looking for executives with industry-specific experience. Occasionally recruiters recruit candidates out of a specific industry knowing that they are a good fit for the client company’s industry.
• Function/Level — Recruiters look for someone with a specific function and level. If you are President of a division, you most likely won’t be considered for a VP position since it is assumed that you will leave as soon as you find a President role.
• Recent Experience — Recency and relevancy are key here. If you have the experience the recruiter is looking for, but it is 15 years ago, you will most likely be overlooked. In today’s market the recruiter can find someone with recent and relevant experience.
• Education — Most companies require some type of degree and some require a master’s or specific degree. Therefore the recruiter will look for candidates with the educational qualifications required by the company.
• Job Hopping — This is a red flag for recruiters. If you have changed jobs every year for the past several years, it sends up a red flag. If you have good reason, your job hopping may be overlooked, however it’s difficult to get their attention to be able to explain. And your LinkedIn profile section is not where you want to try to explain.
• Location — Since few if any companies are willing to relocate executives, location is a high priority.
Of course, they look for the obvious such as correct spelling, grammar, language and tone as well. Since many recruiters only read your summary section, make sure you have a well-written summary that includes your branded value proposition.
If your career transition involves changing industries or functions, or you’re a job hopper, or you do not have the desired education, then targeting recruiters probably won’t be your most effective job search strategy. However, you’re profile is still extremely important because you will need to depend more on networking and finding contacts to land your next position.