When looking to get a job, you want to use every tool available.
You might already use a resume builder, a job search platform, and other digital tools like ChatGPT. And thanks to professional social media channels like LinkedIn, reaching out to recruiters and headhunters about new opportunities is easier than ever.
It might feel forward, but when cold connecting, you’re actually helping recruiters do their job by increasing their network of potential candidates. And knowing how to message a recruiter on LinkedIn the right way can increase your chances of a successful job search.
Start by learning how to find a recruiter on LinkedIn, how to reach out, and the best methods to follow up. You’ll develop a fruitful relationship that can speed up your job hunt and add to your network. New job opportunities might be just a message away.
Why use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is one of the premier resources for people looking to increase their network as part of an active or passive job search. If you want to contact a recruiter, LinkedIn is the place to do it because of its popularity and ease of use — whether you’re just entering the field or changing careers later in life.
A survey from Jobvite showed that 72% of recruiters look to LinkedIn to source qualified candidates, and that 67% of recruiters feel that the candidates they hire through the platform are high quality. In fact, eight LinkedIn job seekers land a position every 60 seconds.
Connecting with recruiters lets you inquire about potential positions and start building a relationship. And when you message someone on LinkedIn after applying for a job, you let them know you’re active in the industry and eager to learn more about the position. It shows initiative and passion and demonstrates your written communication skills.
Before you learn how to find a recruiter on LinkedIn, there are a few things you need to know about the platform’s limitations and best practices.
Understand your messaging limitations
LinkedIn’s messaging service, InMail, regulates communication between members. If you have a free account, you can use it to message direct connections or connections of connections. But if you’re trying to contact someone outside your professional network, you need to send a connection request first.
If this is a roadblock for you, you can upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account and message anyone on the platform with LinkedIn InMail. But this plan does cost a monthly fee, so if you aren’t sure if you want to commit, start a free 30-day trial to see if the service is for you.
Keep in mind that if you do want to message recruiters and start relationships with them, you might want to begin by connecting anyway. That way, they’re still in your network even if they don’t have an open position that suits you.
Update your LinkedIn profile
One of the first things a recruiter will do when receiving your connection request or message is to visit your LinkedIn profile to assess your experience, skills, and personality. It’s your first impression, so make sure your profile page looks its best by reviewing your content for:
- An up-to-date headshot and professional cover photo
- Your current or most recent job title and headline, optimized with keywords relevant to your role and industry
- A complete summary, including a bullet list of skills and qualifications with action verbs
- Detailed employment history with supportive data
- Recent recommendations and endorsements
Don’t forget to tweak your visibility settings to allow anyone to view your profile. Potential recruiters won’t be able to access your information if you’re on connection-only settings.
Locate a recruiter
When you want to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn, be selective. Recruiters don’t want to see a cookie-cutter message that you’re sending to dozens of people.
Choose your contacts based on the company or industry you want to work in, your geographic location (if necessary), and your professional goals. Use this as your chance to tailor your own recruiting experience to your career path.
To locate recruiters within an industry:
- Open LinkedIn
- Enter your industry and the word “recruiter” into the search bar
- Narrow the search results to your region by clicking “All Filters” at the far right side of the horizontal navigation bar, and select or add your location of interest
- Click “Show Results”
To locate recruiters from specific companies:
- Create a list of organizations that interest you
- Open LinkedIn
- Enter the company name in the LinkedIn search bar in the upper left corner of the page
- Click “View Page”
- Beneath the headline, click on “People”
- In the search bar, enter common recruiter titles like recruitment manager, head of talent, or talent acquisition manager
- Review the search results to find the best person to contact
You can, and should, reach out to LinkedIn recruiters independently, but you don’t have to go through the whole job search process on your own. Speak with friends or colleagues, especially those who work in the same field as you. They may be able to recommend a recruiter or facilitate your initial contact. And if you want more support, a career coach can help you reach goals and cheer you on along the way.
How to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn
Now that you have a name or a list of people you want to message, it’s time to get to work.
Before you send a Linkedin message to a recruiter, try connecting with them over another platform like Twitter if they use that platform professionally. They might notice you’re already interacting with them, building familiarity and making them more likely to accept a connection request over LinkedIn.
When you’re ready, here’s how to send a connection request:
- Navigate to the profile of the recruiter you want to connect with
- Click the “Connect” button located in the page’s Introduction section
- Click “Add a note” in the message pop-up
- Write a personalized message
- Click “Send Invitation”
Connection requests have a 300-character limit, so you need to make your brief message count. Introduce yourself and include a short call to action, like “I’d love to hear more about the company.” You don’t have to include details about your work history or career gap. A recruiter will look at your profile to learn more, so make sure it has everything else they need to know (and that all information is up to date).
Before you click send, proofread your message to ensure its error-free. About 77% of recruiters will disqualify candidates for spelling or grammar mistakes, so it’s worth double-checking.
Sample connection request
I hope you’re doing well! I’m a [position] based in [location]. After [number] years in [field], I’m ready for the next step [add specifics of what specific position you’re interested in]. I really connect with your company because [specifics] and would love to be on your radar for future job openings. Let’s connect to discuss this further.
How to message
Once you connect with a recruiter, you can send them a much longer InMail message with a subject line. This is your chance to talk more about why you’re a good fit for their company and highlight past achievements.
If you’re wondering what to say to a recruiter on LinkedIn, the best practice is to keep your message short, polite, and professional. Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people, and they might not have time to read through an in-depth email. Include the basics and let them know you’ll answer any questions they have.
The subject line
One study from email software Boomerang found that 33% of readers will open an email based on the subject line alone, so make every word count. Be clear about what you’re looking for, with any relevant specifics like location or position.
Here are some sample subject lines to include:
- Regarding Advertisement for a Sales Manager
- Query: Current Job Openings for Senior Copy Editors
- Searching: Digital Marketing Positions in San Francisco
The email body
In terms of content, a recruiter will likely skim your email, so you want to strike a balance between being too brief and presenting them with a wall of text. The same Boomerang study as above found that emails between 50–125 words had response rates of about 50%, with the sweet spot sitting at 75–100 words.
It might be tempting to use a template for every recruiter, but they can spot ingenuine messages. Instead of a generic email, show you put some effort into networking by personalizing it. Find some common ground. Maybe you went to the same school or are interested in the same LinkedIn influencers. Include anything to make your message stand out.
After thanking the recruiter for accepting your connection request, the body of your message should include your:
Close off your message with a call to action to encourage a recruiter to return your email or continue the discussion. If you think it would be helpful, you can complete the package by attaching your resume and formal cover letter. And as always, proofread your message before sending it.
Send a follow-up message
You won’t receive a response every time you message a recruiter, and that’s alright. You can still have them as a connection and keep tabs on the job postings they share.
But if they do express interest in hiring you for a position, communicate and send a follow-up as soon as you can.
If you realize you aren’t interested in the role once you know more, be honest and thank the recruiter for their time when you decline. You can also offer to forward the job posting to your contacts. This way, you’ll maintain the relationship, and they can keep you in mind for other positions.
If you do want to learn more about the opportunity and move on with the process, ask to schedule a meeting by phone or in-person to discuss. Go over the application process and the possibility of a job interview. Express gratitude and make sure the recruiter knows you appreciate their time and effort.
LinkedIn message examples
If you’re unsure of what to say in your LinkedIn message, here are some examples. Keep in mind that these are samples, not templates. You’ll need to personalize your message before you send it, and since every position and recruiter is different, that needs to come from you.
Sample message for networking
Thank you for taking the time to connect.
I’m a social media marketing expert with three years of content creation, analytics, and budget management experience. I recently read your article about using AI to automate online marketing activities and found it very insightful. I’m looking to network with other industry professionals, so I thought I’d say hi.
I hope you’re having a good day and that we can talk soon!
Sample message about a specific position
Dear Mr. Samuel Kwame Boadu,
I hope you’re doing well. I was interested in applying for your logistics coordinator position but noticed that it was posted more than a month ago. Is it still open?
I appreciate the time and help. If you continue to accept applications for this role, I hope we can discuss the job in greater detail soon. If not, may I send you my resume for future consideration?
Sample message to a recruiting agency
Hello Ms. Akos,
Thank you in advance for your time. I understand that you specialize in IT staffing, and you’ve assisted many organizations I admire in attracting new talent. I’m seeking a new position and thought you could be a valuable resource. I have a Master’s in Information Technology Management and eight years of network administration experience.
I was hoping you could help me with my job search. If you don’t have any open positions, would you be available to share insights on the job market? If you prefer to speak via email, I’m available at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time.
Don’t be afraid to reach out
With professional social media platforms like LinkedIn, job seekers now have a higher level of accessibility to recruiters than ever before. If you’re looking for a new job, use that access to your advantage.
Learn how to message a recruiter on LinkedIn and start finding recruiters who match the positions you’re looking for. You’ll be putting your resume in the hands of someone with the power to make a real difference in your life. Job search depression is real, and having a recruiter in your corner could make the process much easier.
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