With 350 million users, LinkedIn is today’s primary social platform for connecting recruiters and job seekers. Recruiters at more than 30,000 companies use LinkedIn to find the best candidates.
Just as recruiters need to take time to craft compelling, succinct and relevant InMails to engage prospects, job seekers who are using LinkedIn to contact recruiters and build their own networks should do the same.
Recruiters often receive requests that “cross the line,” notes 15-year recruiting veteran Stacy Donovan Zapar. These requests range from asking for a complete resume overhaul to expecting personal contact information of connections within the recruiter’s network. Zapar recommends job seekers be careful to “leverage their network without taking advantage of it.”
Here are a few simple strategies that will help you target the right recruiter with the right message.
1. Do your research
Before you reach out, research the company, the role and the recruiter you plan to approach. Look for commonalities that may be worth mentioning in your introductory InMail – shared connections, similar schools, or groups/organizations.
Part of conducting research is reviewing the company’s careers site and being prepared to identify two or three (not 6-10) target roles. Additionally, make sure you are qualified for the role – meeting at least 90% of the minimum requirements – before reaching out to the recruiter.
2. Pay attention to detail
Heed any instructions or hints given on the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile. If a recruiter states, “No calls please,” it is best not to call. If a recruiter lists an email address or phone number, it is likely that they are open to being contacted via either method.
Pick up on other clues that are apparent on first glance of the recruiter’s profile. For instance, a technical recruiter at a large company likely has little insight into sales roles within the same company.
3. Think strategically
Be sure to apply online via the recommended method before sending your message via LinkedIn. Handpick a recruiter that you share something in common with (school, previous employer, interests) and build from there. Avoid blasting 20 recruiters at the same company.
Make it easy for the recruiter to help you, steering clear of generic requests that require heavy lifting on the recruiter’s part. Among these requests – asking for introductions to people at companies outside of the recruiter’s own or asking for personal recommendations when the recruiter has no personal knowledge of your skill set.
Know that if your message sparks even a tiny amount of interest, the recruiter will click on your profile, so make sure your photo, summary and profile are recruiter-ready.
4. Be concise
Some recruiters receive upwards of hundreds of applicants for each open role, depending on the industry/geography supported. While interacting with potential candidates is important to recruiters, communicating with the right candidates is even more important.
Think through what you want to say and prepare several drafts before sending. Respect the recruiter’s time and provide a compelling reason conveying why you are worth a closer look.
5. Customize your approach
There is no one-size fits all template, but it is a given that a wordy five-paragraph essay introduction via LinkedIn is not ideal. Plan to make your initial message five sentences at most. Have a clear ask, and allow the reader time to follow up with you before sending another message.
As you integrate these tips into your approach, work to formulate your own authentic voice. While you may not receive a rapid response to every message sent, you can still make an impression with a succinct, well-worded message.