Hey friends! So as you know, I’m lucky to have my dream job—traveling the world and writing about my adventures. But there was a time when I was hustling to find consistent work, and it helped me a ton to reach out to recruiters!
If you’re looking to find a new job or you’re a freelancer looking to add additional work to your portfolio, recruiters can help connect you with companies that are hiring for long-term and contract work.
Even though recruiters can be super helpful, I’ve found that a lot of people either don’t know how to work with them or are too intimidated to reach out. So let’s empower you today to become a confident woman and go after your dream job!
What are Recruiters?
Recruiters find top talent for open job positions. They can either be internal, meaning they work directly for the company that’s hiring, or external, meaning they work for an agency that has been hired to fill positions at a company.
So for example, let’s say there’s an open position at Google. An internal recruiter would be a Google employee who hires for a specific department at Google, like IT or accounting, and reports to Google’s hiring manager.
In this example, an external recruiter would be an employee of a staffing agency that has been contracted by Google to help them find candidates for open positions.
Why does this matter? You probably want to reach out to an internal recruiter if you’re really wanting to get a position at a specific company. But an external recruiter can be helpful if you’re looking to enter a specific field (at any company), since they likely represent several different companies.
Top 5 Tips to Follow When Reaching Out to Recruiters
Working with recruiters can really simplify your job search. Here are my 5 top tips for how to reach out to recruiters so they’ll actually help you.
Tip #1: Update Your LinkedIn Profile
When you contact a recruiter, try and think best-case scenario—they might respond right away with an amazing job opportunity! In case they look you up right away, you better have your LinkedIn profile up to date and in tip-top shape.
Make sure your profile picture is a professional-looking headshot without other people in it. If you have any recent work to highlight, make sure you’ve linked it on your LinkedIn page. Have you learned any recent skills or joined any professional organizations? Add them for easy visibility.
Recruiters look at dozens of potential candidates at a time—you want to stand out as competent, capable and experienced. Remember, you only get one shot at a fabulous first impression!
PRO TIP: You can actually add a badge to your LinkedIn profile to indicate that you’re open to work. LinkedIn added this feature to help job seekers connect with recruiters, so take advantage of it!
Tip #2: Update Your Resume
Have your resume ready to go before you reach out to a single recruiter. Again, in case a recruiter responds right away, you want to be prepared to provide them with proof of your qualifications as quickly as possible.
Your resume should be detailed, but brief. Make sure to emphasize any work experience that’s relevant to the job you’re looking for and to provide clear, measurable indicators of your success.
Did you increase engagement on your company’s social media site? Say so! Did you single-handedly plan and execute your staff retreat? Mention it!
Tip #3: Do Some Research
The key thing to remember about recruiters is that they don’t work for you. Their job is to fill open positions with the best candidates. You should never reach out to a recruiter with a message like, “I want a new job, can you help?” That’s an easy way to get your email deleted.
From the start, you should be explaining to recruiters how you can help them. All your communication with recruiters should be geared towards explaining how your experience, passion, and skills can fulfill their needs.
In order to explain how you’re the perfect fit, you need to understand what the recruiter is looking for. So don’t be lazy—do some research on the specific job or field you’re trying to get into.
Tip #4: Keep Your Contact Short and Specific
Now comes the nerve-wracking part—actually reaching out to a recruiter! There are only two scenarios you would ever reach out to a recruiter.
The first reason you would reach out is if they posted on a career site about a specific job opening that you know you’d be perfect for. If this is the case, you should apply for the job and then email them directly to follow up. This is an easy way to make your name stand out from the crowd of applicants and can even get you a quick interview!
But what if they haven’t posted about an opening? Some recruiters hire for very specific work. For example, creative recruiters hire designers, writers, and editors for different positions. You can reach out to this type of recruiter any time; even if they don’t know of any openings, they can add your name to their database for openings in the future.
Now that you’re emailing a recruiter, what do you say? Keep your introductory email short and specific. Explain that you are interested in X type of job and that you’d love to connect over the phone to discuss your qualifications. That’s it! If they respond, you’ll get a chance to provide more information, like your skills and resume.
Remember, some recruiters get dozens of emails a day. Sending too much information in an introductory email might get your message shuffled to the bottom of the pile. Be confident, clear, and accommodating.
Here’s a bonus tip: If you ever find yourself copying and pasting emails to recruiters, you’re doing something wrong. Each contact with a new recruiter should be catered to their specific niche or the job opening they’re filling. Recruiters can see through cookie-cutter language, so don’t use it.
Tip #5: Follow Up and Follow Through
If you don’t hear back from a recruiter, don’t take it personally. Try sending one additional email, but don’t spam them with an email every day until you get a response. Remember, recruiters work for the company you want to work for. It’s important to set a good impression if you want to be considered for your dream job!
If they do respond, stay in consistent communication with them. If they ask for additional documents or want to schedule a call, make it happen. Don’t make the recruiter wait on you for any reason. Just because they reached out to you doesn’t mean they aren’t also considering dozens of other candidates. Prioritize their time and treat them with respect.
Build Relationships with Recruiters for Long-Lasting Career Support
When you’re on the job hunt, a recruiter can be an invaluable resource. But connecting with a recruiter as a means to an end probably won’t bring you much long-term success. Instead, try and build relationships with recruiters in your area of interest. They’ll keep you in mind for new job openings, and you’ll stay up-to-date on what employers are looking for in top candidates.
Wherever you are in your job search, good luck! Job hunting is exhausting, but if you think it’s time for a change, trust yourself and stick with it. Before you know it, you’ll be in the fulfilling career you’ve been waiting for!