It's safe to say that LinkedIn made professional networking far easier than it used to be. Still, many job seekers are reluctant to contact recruiters directly, fearing to sound desperate or simply rude. To all candidates reading this – recruiters keep their LinkedIn profiles precisely for that reason! Now, just because they expect you to reach out doesn't mean you can just send a generic message and expect to get five job offers in return. LinkedIn networking requires care. Here are 4 tips on how to reach out to recruiters in good style.
Contacting recruiters that have nothing in common with your sector is pointless. That's why you need to conduct a small research to learn which hiring managers belong to your industry and might offer something interesting.
Use the Advanced People Search function – it's in the LinkedIn Search bar on your top right (first click 'People' and then 'Advanced'). Typing 'recruiter IT' will give you a list of recruiters who specialize in the IT sector. Refine your search by specialization or level and you're good to go.
Outreach is always easier if you’ve got some connections in common with the recruiter. Check their name on the social network – if you see '2nd' in the top right corner of the profile, it means that you've got some connections in common. They're all listed at the bottom of the profile. Have a look to decide which connection to contact in relation to the recruiter.
This works for offline as well – have a look at your network to see whether you know someone who works or used to work for the same company. Finding a connection that you can leverage to make the introduction is crucial. In the process, you'll also learn more about the recruiter – this knowledge will help you develop an efficient outreach strategy.
If you've got no online or offline connections in common, have a look at the recruiter's interests and affiliations. Research groups, offline affiliations (they don't have to be professional) and specific personal interests. This element will be most important in your first communication to the recruiter.
If you belong to the same group on LinkedIn, here's a smart way to get the recruiter's attention – participate in the discussions, listen to the conversation and once a good occasion arises, don't hesitate to share an insightful comment or experience. This can also become a point for outreach – as long as you don't overdo it.
This is much more difficult, but if done right, can be equally efficient. Don't sound too desperate and avoid asking for favors (directly or indirectly). Messages including phrases like 'Can you help me find a job?' are a big no-no. You're a stranger and asking for something already in your first communication is simply off-putting.
How to write a good 'cold' message? Express your interest in the offered position, provide at least two viable reasons for connecting that directly relate to the job, tailor you wording to fit the language of the job posting and engage the recruiter. As long as you keep the message in a tone that doesn't oblige the recruiter to act in your benefit, you're safe.
Bearing these tips in mind, prepare to make the most from what LinkedIn has to offer. With a little effort you might end up with more exciting job opportunities than you have ever imagined.
Tess Pajaron is a Community Manager at Open Colleges, an online learning provider based in Sydney, Australia. She has a background in Business Administration and Management.
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