What is a headhunter?
Generally speaking, headhunters (sometimes referred to as HR manager etc) tend to focus on more specialist roles, often senior appointments. They tend to be highly proactive individuals searching for the best individual and really focusing on the quality, rather than just who happens to be out there looking for work actively at that point in time. The headhunter is usually not paid until the company accepts one of the presented candidates. In clinical research, a headhunter might receive somewhere between 1 to 3 months of a CRAs salary, to find one CRA tailor made for a specific position!
So, is it easy to get headhunted? Well, certainly not easy, but its not that difficult as people might think. In fact, most people don’t even try, and that opens up some great opportunities for the rest of us. Please just bear in mind that a headhunter will get paid to get you employed, not for just trying, and thats why he might be willing to work really hard helping you. You just need to make the right effort and put in some work up front.
How and where to get headhunted
Today its all about one channel. LinkedIn is where you will find potential headhunters to reach out to, and this is also where they will be looking for you. Of course, if you find their contact details somewhere else, you can always email or call them, but next they will for sure ask for your LinkedIn profile.
How to get headhunted on LinkedIn
A lot of people on LikedIn aren’t actively looking for a job, they don’t want their current boss to know that they are looking for a new role, but I think certainly, just for context sake, its a case these days of when, not if, you will move roles. Every employeer knows that. Get LinkedIn, a keep your profile up to date, and be active networking.
So first of all, be sure to have the basics, such as:
- A complete profile
- A nice professional photo, business style, not your profile picture from Facebook
- A punchy headline
- Contact details
Then put some extra effort in:
- Telling a bit about your personality
- Be sure to tell who you are as a professional, and not just as a cog in the machinery of a particular company
- Target the right keywords headhunters will search for – but don’t get overboard when using keywords
- Be specific, are you searching for a role as a CRA, CTC, CTM etc.
Spend a lot of time making your profile absolutely stellar. Read lots of other peoples profiles, get inspired and ask others for feedback.
What else can you do apart from having a really good profile, to be a bit proactive about getting people to find you?
Get recommendations and endorsements
A written recommendations serves as proof that other people essentially agree with what you’ve achieved according to the description in your profile. Its important to include people not only from where you’re currently working, but from previous roles as well. Add a personal touch to those recommendations, and make sure that they are varied. Get recommendations from a colleague, a former business partner, a professor, a boss, the HR manager, and so on. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone within clinical research. At least try to get three well written recommendations, but aim for as many as possible.
Why are recommendations and endorsements so important?
-Its like on Ebay when you’re checking the seller rating. Immediately you’re drawn to it. And hopefully it retains the interest of the headhunter, and they will take time to scrutinize your profile more in detail.
Your connections and referrals
Dont underestimate the power of god connections.
Good people know good people
If someone is being approached by a headhunter and the opportunity isn’t particularly right for that person at that particular time, chances are high that he or she will recommend someone within their network instead. Of course that will be you.
Contribute to the network by joining groups
Instead of just floating around among billios of profiles, place yourself where HR managers are currently looking. There are lots of great groups that you should definitely join, e.g:
- Oncology CRA network
- CRA Lounge
- CRA opportunities
- Clinical Research Associate Network – Jobs and Education
And many, many more…
In summary – If you want the dream job to find you
- Then you need to make sure you’re profile is right up to scratch.
- That there are very valid recommendations
- Make sure there are no horrendous errors
As always, best of luck!