Looking for a job yourself is daunting and time-consuming. Scouring the internet for openings, searching for hiring managers to connect with, constantly repurposing your resume, and filling out job applications can sometimes feel like a full-time job.

But what if we tell you that there is a way to land a job without going through all the troubles of job searching? What if your dream job could simply fall right into your inbox?

I used to wonder why I keep receiving InMails from headhunters or recruiters on LinkedIn. Don’t they know I already have a job? Later I learned that’s what headhunters actually do — they search for passive candidates to fill open opportunities; because, indeed, opportunities come to those who… work!

Recruiters use a lot of means to find candidates. And if you want to get spotted and offered an opportunity, you need to be where you’ll be found. So, in this article, we will share with you a few steps you can take if you want to get poached. These are tips from real life recruiters.

1. Create a terrific LinkedIn account that stands out.

Today, LinkedIn is the ultimate professional networking site. It currently has over 350 million users worldwide and it is growing fast (with two new members signing up every second). Needless to say, LinkedIn is a powerful platform for professional networking.

Fast Facts About LinkedIn:

  • 95 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates;
  • 95 percent use LinkedIn to contact candidates;
  • 95 percent use LinkedIn to “keep tabs on” potential candidates;
  • 93 percent use LinkedIn to ‘vet candidates pre-interview (versus 32 percent on Facebook and 18 percent on Twitter);
  • 92 percent jobs on LinkedIn (versus 48 percent on Facebook and 39 percent on Twitter.

You are making a stupid mistake if you think LinkedIn is not vital to your professional success. Nonetheless, we’ll give you a lot of tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and stand out from the rest. I will not bombard you with a long list of things-to-do here. I will provide links to other resources you can read later. Bookmark this page!

2. Plan and build your personal brand. 

Search engines like Google have been playing an important role in the recruitment process. As a professional, you must be mindful of your digital presence and turn it to your favor. You have to ask: When a headhunter or a future boss Google my name, will they be able to find my website? If they do, what kind of persona will they find? Will my personal brand work for me, or against me? And, will an embarrassing photo from college come up, too? Oh, MG!

In short, your digital footprint is the totality of your resume, calling card, and most importantly, your reputation. But worry not! You can take charge of what headhunters will find about you from an online search.

Your digital footprint, in simpler terms, is who and what you are online. It includes everything about you, from social media posts to publications and mentions, high-authority or not, positive or otherwise. How you project and sell yourself, on the other hand, is your personal brand. You can control all these.

Find time to read these resources:

Personal Branding

3. Maintain an active online presence.

If you’ve read all the other resources we’ve shared with you so far, you probably get how important it is to stay active online; you probably understand that setting up all these profiles (I like to call them personal branding assets) would be useless if left uncultivated.

Maintain an active online presence in the channels you deem most appropriate. Being “active on social media” doesn’t mean opening an account on every platform possible.  It’s much better to have a well-crafted, up-to-date account on one or two platforms than to have a bunch of accounts that haven’t been touched in years. (Important note: Every job seeker should have a LinkedIn account, and a Facebook or Twitter to show that you’re a real person doesn’t hurt. Beyond that, consider what’s really important for your industry.)

In the article, How Can Social Media Help You Land A Job, we’ve discussed there several steps to make social media work for your career goals, whether you are (or not) actively looking for a job.

The bottom line is simple: Share relevant content on a regular basis, engage with other people in your network by sharing your insights, or simply acknowledge you like their updates by liking or sharing what other people also share.

Online Presence

4. Network.

Imagine the “what ifs”. What if you got laid off? And then you only have 15 people in your LinkedIn network (and most of them are your bummer college classmates). You know it is difficult to look for jobs nowadays unless you have peers who could easily refer you. And your LinkedIn profile should have showcased your career development and competencies at the onset of your professional career!

You know it is better to dig your well before you need to drink from it. The same logic applies to your digital footprint as a professional… if you have been building your social equity with your network, you’ll draw much from it when you need it the most. So, stay in touch.

Also, while most of the networking efforts today happen online, it also pays to explore networking “offline”. Stay professionally social. Attend alumni gatherings, networking parties or dinners, conferences, seminars, and conventions. Be always on the lookout for possible mentors, clients, or peers. You don’t know when you’ll need them, so, as I’ve said, dig your well before you need to drink from it.

Take Home Message

If you want to get poached, or if you simply wish better opportunities come your way, you have to make your personal brand do it for you. Plan and build your personal brand well, and set up the assets that will showcase your personal brand. Once you’ve set them up, it’ll take minimal effort to keep them up-to-date. Yes, it’ll take time and effort building your brand assets, i.e your LinkedIn profile, your website, your other social media profiles, and your content, but in the long run, it will reward you with so much more.

Just imagine filling out lengthy application forms, repurposing your resume, and writing a terrific cover letter every time you see a desirable career opening because nobody’s getting in touch with you to offer you a job you’ll love. I know you don’t want that.