To provide you with the best insights on how to improve your career in 2017, we asked headhunters: What are the five best tips to help senior candidates achieve professional success this year?
The beginning of the new year is high season, not only for skiiers and snowboarders, but also for headhunters. For senior managers that want to stay ahead of their competition. And for executives that are ready for new professional challenges in the year ahead.
Top headhunters gave their advice on how to leap forward in your career in 2017, so study up.
1. Millennials: Prepare Yourself for Changing Expectations
In three years, Millennials will make up half of the employable population worldwide. This means it’s high time to pay attention to the newest generation – their motivations and their expectations: “A modern boss that wants to lead a team of millennials must be able to motivate and communicate, and should be brave enough to go a new way,” says Kathrin von Hardenberg of the executive search company Indigo. “Self-reflection, openness for something new, and the ability to communicate purpose and values are central skills for managers who want to lead Millennials,” agreed headhunter Simone Dappert of Konsultwerk
Good to know: Instead of a high salary and professional prestige, digital natives value self-actualization, happiness in the workplace, and a positive working atmosphere above all else. They also value a clear division between their working hours and their free-time.
2. Polish Up Your Online Profiles – And Do It Right!
Even if you consider Facebook unnecessary, social and business networks will become more meaningful in 2017 as recruiting platforms. Your online profile is your business card – if Bush was in office the last time you updated your social business profiles, it’s high time for a make-over!
The Basic Check: Check that the content on your “Social CV” is significant and meaningful, complete and up-to-date. And give your profile picture another once-over – do you look like someone who wants to be taken seriously?
The Premium Check: It’s not enough to use keywords – you have to use them the right way! “A strong keyword to describe your professional experience and expectations will increase your visibility – and consequently, the chances of catching the attention of a headhunter,” explains Simone Dappert. Important: When possible, give as many synonyms as you can. “Text production” as well as “content production” will help you shown up in more search queries from headhunters.
3. Pay Attention to Cultural Fit!
“Headhunters pay close attention to applicants who are able to show that their personalities would make them a great fit for a potential company,” says HR specialist Robindro Ullah.
Do this: Evaluate your own cultural fit before you decide on a company. In their glossy pamphlets and shiny websites, employers often promise candidates a bona fide utopia of a workplace to attract the best possible talent. But how does the company really operate? Use corporate rating portals like Kununu (German) and Glassdoor, and check how current and previous employees would rate each company on factors like working conditions, career mobility, and salary. Once you’ve gathered all the necessary facts, you can make a better decision about whether this company would be a good fit for you.
4. Online Etiquette Counts Too – Don’t Forget to Decline!
Just because online interactions don’t require you to speak directly to your partner, it doesn’t mean you can throw etiquette to the wind. Thomas K. Heiden of Heiden Associates advises applicants to communicate better and more openly with recruiters, once they’ve found a new position. “Open-ended application processes should always be ended with an email, declining the offer,” says Heiden. Finally, it’s very frustrating for recruiters to learn that after recommending you for an interview, you’ve already signed a contract to work somewhere else. And you? You’ll most likely never hear from that headhunter again.
5. Prepare Your “Telephone” Persona
With the forward march towards eRecruiting, headhunter Christian Düngfelder sees a huge increase in the use of online-video and Skype for job interviews. Acquaint yourself with these communication methods, use them for your own private needs, and you’ll be prepared for Skype in your business life as well. With a little practice, you’ll make the best possible first impression in Skype.
About the Author
Markus Hofelich is a journalist specializing in economics and finance. He lives with his family south of Munich. He gained his experience in journalism as the Editorial Leader of the DIV, the German Industry Publisher, as the Editor-in-Chief of Cash, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the economics magazine “Unternehmeredition,” from GoingPublic Media AG. Markus Hofelich studied at the University of Passau and the Sorbonne in Paris.
His newest project is a website, SinndesLebens24.de, an online magazine for philosophy, happiness and motivation, and is always open for new opportunities.