How to Get “Discovered” for a Great Opportunity

The Importance of an Intentional Online Presence for High- Level Job Seekers 

Not a week goes by when one of our clients (who are CEOs, C-level and next level executives), doesn’t get “found” for a great opportunity online.

An overwhelming majority of retained executive search consultants, external recruiters, internal talent acquisition and human capital executives – all high level recruiters (and their staffs) that look for candidates to fill the very top jobs in corporate America use LinkedIn or other online resources to find candidates.

While most high level jobs are not posted, and many jobs at high levels are still filled through personal networks, more and more companies are looking to diversity their talent pool and have stopped relying heavily on the personal networks of their existing management team. Even Private Equity firms now have internal executive talent teams who look online and who also work with external recruiters who look online to fill their talent pipeline.

Executives who effectively manage their online profiles have the opportunity to hear from, as well as build relationships with many more recruiters. So, get active online and start managing your online presence and brand to become known, establish a trusted brand, and attract recruiters.

Here is one thing you can do right now to attract recruiters:

Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is optimized for the LinkedIn search engine

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the strategic use of high-value keywords to improve search engine rankings, attract viewers, and establish and maintain a robust online presence. The proper use of SEO keywords can help high level job seekers catch the attention of recruiters, who utilize search engines to identify executives whose experience matches the requirements of the role they need to fill.

1) Identify and include relevant key words given your expertise and industry. Make sure the key words that you use to attract recruiters are the right words for the level, position and industry you are seeking.

We have a current client who was appointed to his first CEO position two years ago, but he wants to make a company change now that he has reached the top – but he wants to stay at the CEO level. His key words on his LinkedIn profile skills section were overwhelmingly finance-oriented indicating the expertise of a Chief Financial Officer, which is the job he held before being promoted to CEO. Even though his title may be CEO, his online brand reads “CFO”. We quickly identified why he was getting contacted through LinkedIn for CFO positions and not CEO positions.

2) The text within your LinkedIn profile is weighted differently – keywords in your headline, summary and the skills section matter the most, so ensure that you most important keywords are listed in the right spots.

3) Use keywords that are popular, easily understood, and relevant to your industry. Use them in titles, in meta description tags, and throughout your profile. A meta description tag is a brief description of content you share that will show up in search engine results.

4) Don’t use the same keywords too many times. Often called “keyword stuffing”, search engines recognize this as poor quality and rank it lower; readers will probably feel the same way.

4) If you are ready to give up your stealth job seeker image, indicate that you are looking by tagging that you are open to new opportunities in your LinkedIn job search settings. It will only be seen by serious recruiters who have invested in LinkedIn’s Recruiter Application. Recruiters that work at your present company will not be able to determine that you are looking from this tag. Indicating that you are looking in this manner will drive a higher ranking for recruiter searches that are relevant to your background.

5) Be active online, especially on LinkedIn which is where most recruiters search for top level leaders. If you are active on LinkedIn (networking, posting, commenting) your name will rank higher on any search that a recruiter conducts that is relevant to your background.

There are many other ways to get on the radar of recruiters online, but this is a good way to start.


Founded in 2001, Waterman Hurst is a professional services company that provides strategic job and board search services to leaders. We serve CEOs, C-Suite executives, Next Level Executives, and Advancing Leaders who want to transform their careers. We are the first company to provide B2C high end, high touch comprehensive job and board search services exclusively to leadership clients – we provide expertise in branding, strategy, coaching and serve as agents for top talent.

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