How to Contact a Recruiter on Linkedin
When it comes to job hunting, we know that we need to take the initiative and look beyond job boards and publicized adverts.
Recruiters are keen to work with those who have taken it upon themselves to find what they are looking for. It shows motivation. It shows passion. And it shows a desire to work for a specific company.
But how far should you go, and should you be making use of professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and other social networks to reach out to a recruiter to help you get your dream job?
The answer is 'yes'.
But your approach and how you make that initial contact could make all the difference.
Let’s take a look at how you should approach someone on LinkedIn if you’re looking for a new job.
LinkedIn is one of the world’s best-known professional networking sites. It’s a platform designed to facilitate connections between like-minded peers, and a place where you can upload your CV or resume and showcase your professional expertise.
It’s also a place designed for recruitment and can be a beneficial tool to help you connect with those who are responsible for recruitment campaigns.
According to AdWeek, 94% of recruiters will turn to LinkedIn in a bid to find new employees.
This is because:
- They can use their professional contacts to find appropriate profiles of those who may fit the job description
- Job adverts can be shared by connections leading to a wider audience
- It’s an opportunity to build relationships in a digital environment
With an estimated 722 million users worldwide, it’s easy to see why recruiters are keen to use the site as a credible recruitment tool.
As you may already know, there are two distinct types of recruiter:
Those working in-house for a company and looking to take sole responsibility for expanding their teams
Those working for recruitment or staffing agencies
Both types of recruiters can be easily found on LinkedIn, so it’s important to plan how you would approach them.
Here at WikiJob, we often talk about the importance of a first impression (particularly when it comes to interviews).
It’s important to remember that how you reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn may start to form a distinct impression in their mind, so before you fire off a quick message, you should think about what you want to say and how you plan to say it.
It’s also important that you take the time to review your own LinkedIn profile.
You want to make sure that it catches a recruiter’s attention and effectively sells your skills and experience.
Recruiters are bombarded with messages on LinkedIn from job seekers hoping to take advantage of a new opportunity.
You need to ensure that your introductory message stands out from the crowd and immediately ensures that the potential recruiter remembers you and thinks favorably of you.
Here is our five-step guide to help you approach someone for a job on LinkedIn:
Before you make any contact, you must spend time undertaking due diligence.
Make sure that you are aware of who that person is, what their role is (do they work in a specific department or are they an external recruiter?), and that you find out more about the company that they work for.
You need to use this time to find a way to break the ice when you make that personal connection. Perhaps that person has recently spoken at a specific conference or seminar, or maybe they’ve shared an interesting article.
It’s also beneficial to research the company in full as well.
Make sure that you’ve paid attention to that firm’s careers page on their website (if they have one). This should give you the information you need about any existing job vacancies or details on what you should do for any speculative cover letters and applications.
The best way to make a good impression on a recruiter is to make that person feel like you are trying to build a personal connection with them.
That person’s LinkedIn profile should tell you more about who they are professionally. It may tell you about their professional interests and capabilities or talk about their current job roles and responsibilities. It may even identify mutual connections that you may have.
Use this information to help you craft a pitch. By knowing what you want to talk to them about and giving them a reason to want to engage in conversation with you, you’ll have a greater chance of success once you’ve made that connection online.
Why should the recruiter be interested in you?
You need to give that person a reason to engage with you and think about how you can start this new professional relationship on a positive note.
When it comes to traditional job applications, you are likely to spend considerable time crafting your cover letter, which is your initial introduction to a recruiter. It may help you to think about your LinkedIn connection in the same way. After all, you want your connection request to entice the recruiter to view your profile and consider you for a job role.
With this in mind, you need to think about what information the recruiter needs.
Use your introductory pitch to explain who you are, what your current job role is and what you are looking for. If you have any mutual connections in common, this could be your opportunity to mention them.
This means that the recruiter immediately knows whether it is worth making that next step in accepting your connection request.
When you’re ready to send your connection request, you must make sure that you are sending the request to the right person.
Your pitch should be brief but tailored to that person. There’s nothing worse than sending a generic request, so make sure you’ve used your words carefully.
Try to be brief and consider including a call to action at the end of your message, such as suggesting a quick follow-up call or providing your email address so that you can talk offline.
Remember – your initial connection message should only be a few sentences, so it’s important to think about what you want to say.
I see that you are recruiting candidates to work in [industry]. I’d welcome the opportunity to connect with you because I have extensive experience in this area and I’m looking for new opportunities to further my career.
I would appreciate the chance to connect and talk with you in more detail.
This sample text is designed to be sent to a recruitment consultant, rather than an in-house recruiter.
It succinctly explains why you have made the initial contact, gives the recruiter an indication of how the connection could benefit them and offers a proactive call-to-action that encourages the recruiter to accept the connection request.
Once the recruiter has accepted your connection request, it’s your opportunity to use the pitch you crafted in Step 2.
By this point, you already have their attention, so it’s time for you to thank them for accepting your connection request and acknowledge that they are giving you their time.
You want to use this follow-up as an opportunity to explain what you can do for them, rather than directly asking them to find you a job.
If your connection request is responding to an advertised job role, then feel free to attach a copy of your resume.
If it’s a speculative connection (or you are trying to connect with a recruitment or staffing agency), then give a brief description of your expertise and explain the type of role that you are looking for.
This will give the recruiter enough information to know whether to continue the relationship or not.
Thank you so much for accepting my connection request. I see that we have some mutual connections in common [detail names] and they recommended that I contacted you directly.
I’m currently working in a [job role] and I believe that I’m ready to take the next step in my career development. I’m specifically looking for a new role where I can specialize in [details].
I understand that you specialize in recruiting for [sector] and I know that you may not be currently recruiting for a specific role that matches my skills. However, I wanted to pass on my details so that you can add my resume and career history to your database. When a suitable job role comes up, I would be grateful if you would consider me for the opportunity.
Please feel free to review my LinkedIn profile. I am also attaching a copy of my resume to this message.
Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to register as a candidate with your recruitment agency. I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
As a follow-up message, this gives the recruiter enough information to know whether they would like to continue developing the connection or not. It shows that the candidate has taken the time to research who that person is, as well as subtly flatter them by saying that they’ve been personally recommended.
The message showcases the type of job the candidate is looking for and makes it clear that they understand the recruiter may take time to find a suitable position.
The final call-to-action makes it clear that the candidate is trying to help the recruiter, rather than expecting the recruiter to help them.
It’s important to remember that LinkedIn may take a long time to yield results when it comes to job searching. Once you’ve made that initial connection with a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s important to nurture the relationship.
You can do this by using your profile to share informative articles that you have read or share your opinion on professional issues.
You should continue to interact with the recruiter by liking/commenting on any posts that they share, or you could drop a private message from time to time to keep in touch with them.
This will ensure that the recruiter thinks favorably of you and will keep you in mind when a position becomes available.
Now that we’ve worked through a few suggestions of what you should be doing when contacting recruiters on LinkedIn, it’s important to consider a few things that you should never do.
As we’ve noted, recruiters are continually bombarded with connection requests, many of which will end up being deleted straight away due to an inappropriate approach.
Here are a few practical tips on what to avoid when contacting a recruiter for the first time on LinkedIn:
A recruiter doesn’t have time to read paragraphs of text. Unlike a speculative cover letter, which should be at least one page long, your introduction to a recruiter on LinkedIn should only be a paragraph or two.
The best messages to recruiters are those that are short, sharp and to the point.
For recruiters working in recruitment or staffing agencies, this can be hugely off-putting as it shows a lack of understanding of the role that they play in recruitment strategies.
External recruiters are primarily responsible for finding suitable candidates to fill a specific role on behalf of an organization. Therefore, their main focus will be on working to the specification of the employer, not the candidates.
Of course, they need to have a database of qualified candidates to fill the position, so this is where your approach can make a big difference.
Rather than using your connection request to ask, “Can you find me a job?” you may be better off using it as an opportunity to explain your credentials and politely ask that they add your details to their database so that when something suitable does come up, you’re an instant match.
This approach not only shows that you have something to offer them, but also that you understand this is potentially a long-term relationship to nurture and develop.
It is common for job seekers to approach recruiters and ask them to provide free feedback or critique their resumes. After all, it’s their job, right?
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to reach out to a recruiter online and ask them to review your resume for you. It’s an incredibly time-intensive process and will take them away from the work that they are paid to do.
A recruiter typically wouldn’t have the expertise to write a resume on your behalf – that is the role of a professional resume writer.
They may be able to provide suggestions on how to make improvements to maximize your strengths concerning a specific job role. But that can only come later in the relationship once the recruiter has got to know more about you and your professional experience.
It’s a fine line between selling yourself by highlighting your expertise and sounding arrogant.
When you email a recruiter for the first time, or you reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn, you want to sound confident and capable.
You don’t need to focus on your achievements; it should be more about what you can do for the employer and what skills you are bringing to the table.
You should highlight your expertise while remaining humble.
You need to have confidence that the recruiter will review your resume or your LinkedIn profile in due course, so you don’t need to start the conversation boasting about how many awards you’ve won or with testimonials that you’ve received from others.
This is another no-no when it comes to reaching out to recruiters, especially if there’s no previous relationship to fall back on.
This approach is effectively asking a stranger to take time away from their current paid role and devote it to you instead without any recognition of what you can do for them.
It is also an ambiguous request because once that person has given you their time and attention, you may decide that the new career isn’t right for you, thus wasting everyone’s time.
If you are considering a career change, it’s important to do your due diligence first and find out more about what the role entails.
You could register with a staffing agency to get some short-term experience or work in voluntary roles to find out more.
You should now be aware of how to use LinkedIn to your advantage when reaching out to recruiters speculatively.
The success of your connection will come down to your approach. Therefore, you need to take the time to think about what you want to say before hitting that 'send' button.
To facilitate a positive connection, it’s essential to consider how you can help that recruiter as well as how they can help you.
Good relationships are built on two-way engagement. You need to show that you can provide them with added value – whether it's through the addition of your resume to their database (external recruiters) or what you can do to improve their team (internal recruiters).
You want to show yourself as polite yet confident and ensure that your initial approach remains professional at all times. This means that your spelling and grammar should be perfect, with no typos or inappropriate language.
It’s also important to remember that the relationship needs to be built far beyond the initial introduction. It’s about maintaining the connection through liking and commenting on their posts, or showing your knowledge and expertise through your posts. It’s also about ensuring that your profile page is kept up to date with your achievements, and your key roles and responsibilities.
A well-nurtured online connection can help bring you to mind when a recruiter is looking to hire for a suitable position.