Planning to reach out to recruiters during your job search, but don’t know how to approach them? You’re in luck!
Now, it’s easier than ever to find recruiters who specialize in your field by using LinkedIn -- and, even better -- they’re often receptive to your queries from the site.
One very effective way to connect with recruiters is to attract them to your LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn visibility is dramatically increased when you leverage LinkedIn SEO and focus on Choosing the Best Keywords for Your LinkedIn Profile.
The Linkedin Search function, accessible from the Search bar at the top left of most LinkedIn pages, is one of the best tools for job seekers trying to find key contacts.
Begin by typing your query (e.g. recruiter) into the Search bar, as shown below. This is currently the only place where you can specify the keywords you want.
After identifying a pool of key recruiter contacts, you’ll need to craft an introduction that is succinct, professional, and related to your area of specialty.
Keep in mind that this note should be tuned specifically to each of your new contacts.
As one person noted in a survey from LinkedIn on recruiter queries, many recruiters are "very receptive" to receiving a note from a candidate, especially one whose experience and career level aligns with their particular area of specialty. Be aware, however, that this note must explain the purpose of your query.
Another recruiting manager noted that a "good approach" includes an explanation of your reasons for the contact and what you’re seeking. It’s not enough to ask if the recruiter is seeking candidates with your background!
Here’s a sample script for reaching out to a recruiter:
"As an IT auditor engaged in a search for new positions within the Chicago area, I am interested in finding out more about the positions you source. I’ve recently completed an assignment with Ernst & Young, and my intent is to build relationships within the banking community. I welcome any suggestions you might have for me, and as I maintain contact with colleagues in the auditing field, I can also help refer candidates to you. Thank you for your time."
In this contact, you’ll want to be specific about your skills and fitness for your career goal, allowing the recruiter to see how your qualifications apply to this job type. This message needs to resemble a short cover letter.
Often, this first note stimulates dialogue that allows the recruiter to point out job listings from corporate websites, or to add the job seeker to an internal recruiting database. In addition, some recruiters will help you follow their current sourcing requirements by directing you to their primary method of streaming new job postings (such as a Twitter or RSS feed).
If you find that a recruiter responds to you with a note stating that they’ll "keep your resume on file," don’t despair. This is common practice, and can indicate that they expect to receive a future request for candidates with your skills.
Staying on the recruiter’s radar is important, but it does require additional effort on your part.
As one recruiter suggested, sending a short note via LinkedIn or through email approximately once per month is a great idea. It will help keep your skills top-of-mind when new sourcing requirements cross the recruiter’s desk.
LinkedIn can be, as one recruiter noted, a "massively useful tool for jobseekers." However, you’ll want to demonstrate professionalism and purpose when using it to contact recruiters to support your search.
Job-Hunt's LinkedIn for Job Search Expert Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is an award-winning executive resume writer, national columnist, author, LinkedIn and SEO enthusiast, and past recruiter. Laura is author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips and Strategies to Access the Hidden Job Market. Follow Laura on Twitter at @ResumeExpert and on LinkedIn.