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Working with a recruiter can speed up a sluggish job search and help you find roles that aren’t listed publicly.
Here we’ll discuss, with templates, how to reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn. We’ll also cover how to find a promising recruiter on LinkedIn and in other ways.
1. Prepare to pitch a recruiter
Before contacting a recruiter, update your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Also practice articulating your accomplishments and certifications, suggests Jauné Little, director of recruiting services at Insperity, which sells human resources services to companies.
Depending on their industry, recruiters are often managing dozens of candidates and open positions, and sifting through hundreds of job applications. So Little also suggests identifying skills or experience you have that other candidates don’t. That might look like experience at a massive company in your industry, a unique degree or an unconventional work history.
Practice spelling out that distinction, and think about how you’d talk about those attributes to a recruiter.
“You really have one shot at making a lasting impression,” Little says. “So make it a good one.”
2. Find a recruiter on LinkedIn
To find recruiters on LinkedIn, search “recruiter” alongside your desired industry or job in the search bar. If you can, get specific; a search for “medical devices sales recruiter” will offer better results than “sales recruiter.”
You can also search for recruiters by city and company; for example “Dell recruiter” or “Oklahoma City recruiter.”
To filter your search results to only people’s profiles, click the “People” button at the top of the search results. Scan the results carefully; if you search “Lyft recruiter,” for example, some of the profiles in your search results will belong to former employees who list Lyft on their profiles.
3. Reach out to the recruiter on LinkedIn
Once you find a recruiter, request to connect. LinkedIn doesn’t allow users to directly message people they aren’t connected with, but you can include a message in your connection request.
Keep your message short and simple. Recruiters are busy people; if your message is too long, they’ll often skip it entirely.
“I heard a recruiter from Google say that the worst thing he sees on a resume is a text brick,” says Lisa Severy, a career advisor at University of Phoenix.
Here’s an example of what you could include in a LinkedIn connection request:
Hi, [name]. I hope this finds you well. I’m a [position] with [X years] experience in the industry, and am based in [city]. I’m searching for opportunities to [get specific; list what jobs you’re interested in, or what industry you’d like to work in]. I’d love to connect and discuss this further with you. Thank you!
4. Follow up with your resume and another message
If the recruiter accepts your connection, you’re then able to directly message the recruiter. If you included a message in your LinkedIn connection request, wait a day before sending them a direct message.
Attach your resume to your message. Keep your message straightforward and to the point. It should look something like this:
Good to connect with you! My name is [name], and I’m a [position] in [city] looking for new opportunities [in industry or at a specific company].
I have [X] years of experience in [your industry]. [Include 1-2 sentences listing your accomplishments, certifications or unique job responsibilities that distinguish you from other candidates.]
I’d love to chat with you about any open positions for which I may be a good fit. Are you available on [date] for a phone call?
Once you’ve sent your message, give the recruiter a few days before following up with another message. If your second message goes unanswered, it’s probably best not to follow up again.
There’s a good chance that’ll happen to you, and it’s not personal — Severy warns candidates that a lot of messages to recruiters will go unread. That’s why it’s a good idea to reach out to several recruiters. It’s a numbers game. Eventually, you’ll find your match.
Other ways to reach out to recruiters
Experts agree that, in most cases, the easiest way to find a recruiter is on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one, and use these tips to make a compelling page.
Not having a LinkedIn profile these days is “questionable,” Little says.
» MORE: How to turn down a job recruiter
If you don’t want to use LinkedIn, search online for recruiting agencies that focus on your industry. It may be harder to find an individual recruiter’s contact information that way, though.
Additionally, check a company’s job listings to see if a recruiter’s contact information is listed on the postings.