Secrets of a travel headhunter

You never know when a great job offer could come along. In these days of executive search and headhunting for travel candidates, a recruiter can contact you to suggest you apply for the job of your dreams, without you even having to fill in an application. So, what is a travel headhunter looking for? And how do you get noticed?

We asked our travel headhunter team to divulge the dos and don’ts of getting noticed for the best travel jobs. Here’s what they had to say:

What we look for in your LinkedIn profile

‘I tend to look for how long people have been in a role. Too much job-hopping is off-putting,’ says Divisional Manager for travel technology and business travel, Nicola Townsend. She adds, ‘I also take account of companies they’ve worked for and look out for recommendations from others. I scroll through connections, too, to see if they’re relevant.’

Progressive Travel Recruitment director Fiona Morrison-Arnthal, agrees, ‘I look for a career path that shows growth. If someone’s hopped about without progressing their career, that can be a red flag. With recommendations, I will often use them in my presentation of the candidate as testimony of their experience and ability to fulfil the role.’

Fiona adds that you should make your job titles clear. ‘There are some weird and wonderful job titles out there. If you have a strange job title that doesn’t obviously say what you do, then change it on LinkedIn so that we can identify you as suitable.’ She also advises that you put in more than your job title. ‘Take the time to build your profile, adding responsibilities and achievements,’ she says. ‘I like it when a profile emulates the CV.’ Senior Account Manager Lucy Hatcher agrees. ‘I want to see a reasonable level of detail,’ she says. ‘I look for useful job keywords, and note destinations and languages they might specialise in, or a marketing discipline they’re skilled in. Don’t be too general, be specific.’

The travel headhunting recruitment team builds up a picture of people. They advise reading your own profile imagining you’re a recruiter. Ask yourself if it is strong enough; is there unnecessary information or missing patches? Lucy reminds people to keep LinkedIn about work, ‘Don’t use LinkedIn to post family news or personal pictures; save those for Instagram or Facebook.’ She adds, ‘Make sure you have a good profile picture, too. Get someone to take one of you.’

However, she reminds us, ‘Skills and experience are important, but a cultural fit matters too. We create an overall picture of a candidate.’ That means that you should present yourself accurately but professionally.

‘Definitely mark yourself ‘Open to New Opportunities’ on your LinkedIn profile,’ advises Simon Hurst-Grover, Account Manager for Leisure Travel. Fiona adds, ‘If you are open for relocation it opens up your opportunities and it’s good to see this on your profile.’ There are a few obvious ones, too, such as making your contact details current. The team sometimes find that candidates get in touch after a deadline, because the email they’ve listed on LinkedIn isn’t one they regularly use, so they’ve missed an opportunity.

However, Simon warns, ‘Don’t post anything negative about your current job or employer, however unhappy you are in your current role. I’m potentially representing you to a client and they don’t want to feel that you’re looking for anything just to get out of your current job. It’s also unprofessional and makes you appear negative.’

Simon also suggests including in your profile what types of roles you’re interested in. He says, ‘When we contact you make sure you reply. Good candidates get snapped up quickly but in return good roles also get filled quickly, so be available to have a chat with us so that you don’t miss out. A quick response to say you’re busy but can chat at a set time is appreciated. We’re always happy to speak outside office hours.’ Likewise, Fiona says, ‘Don’t be rude to recruiters. You may not be interested today but you never know what’s around the corner, and nobody wants their lasting impression to be bad.’

Lucy reminds people to use their heads wisely. ‘Share your views and opinions on topics related to the jobs you want, and connect to credible recruitment consultants that specialise in your field. There are some cowboy recruiters out there, so be selective in who you partner with. Ask yourself and them if they have the client base you are interested in.’ A specialist travel headhunter will get you a lot further than a generalist recruiter.

And don’t forget to register with us, and click on our LinkedIn profiles and connect (links below). Make yourself appear available to the right people.

Other things a travel headhunter looks for

Simon says, ‘It depends on the role I’m recruiting for, but in general, a concise eye-catching CV that clearly lists jobs, responsibilities and successes or achievements in those roles is very useful. I’d advise people to back up achievements with figures, too. Anyone can say they exceed their sales targets, but putting, ‘I secured £150,000 worth of sales against a sales target of £100,000’ will make you stand out from other candidates. Obviously spelling and grammatical errors are a major turn off.’

‘I’m always on the look for proactive candidates,’ says Nicola. ‘Those who attend trade events and post about them stand out. They appear engaged and enthusiastic about the travel industry.’

Executive hire and travel headhunters

Fiona regularly recruits executive level positions. She says, ‘I look for thought leaders at executive level. So, involvement and activity, such as writing articles or contributing well in online discussion allows me to understand their experience.’

Of course, we welcome active candidates too, who apply directly for travel job ads. Have a look on our website for current vacancies.

Connect with Progressive Travel Recruitment travel headhunters on LinkedIn:
Connect with Fiona Morrison-Arnthal here >
Connect with Nicola Townsend
here >
Connect with Simon Hurst-Grover
here >
Connect with Lucy Hatcher,
here >