Recruiters are a major source of executive jobs and LinkedIn is a haven for them. They’re busy networking there, posting updates, and sourcing and assessing candidates. It only makes sense to connect and network with the right recruiters on LinkedIn.
And if you have even a minimal profile, they’ve probably been reaching out to you with some frequency, perhaps annoyingly so.
Here’s a common complaint I often hear from executive job seekers:
“I get too many of the wrong kinds of recruiters reaching out to me on LinkedIn with jobs that aren’t at all the right fit for me.”
What if you could increase the number of the RIGHT kind of recruiters reaching out to you, with the RIGHT kind of opportunities?
And what if you could take the initiative, and find and reach out yourself to the right recruiters, that are likely to send the right kind of opportunities your way?
The two actions above, stated slightly differently, make up your working-with-recruiters-on LinkedIn strategy:
- Make yourself and your LinkedIn profile a magnet for recruiters (by carefully building in the right keywords), drawing to you the right kinds of recruiters.
- Search on LinkedIn for recruiters in your niche, and proactively seek them out and then stay top-of-mind with them.
You can, and should, do both things, just as you’ll do both things to attract and connect with other people who can help you with your career goals.
Most recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates like you
Something like 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and assess candidates for jobs they’re trying to fill.
These recruiters use either LinkedIn Recruiter or its pared down version, Recruiter Lite.
With both versions, recruiters input relevant keywords (skills, job titles, location, years of experience, etc.) and use advanced filters to help them search LinkedIn for candidates.
This reinforces what I noted earlier:
Identify and include the keywords in your LinkedIn profile that recruiters will search on LinkedIn to find candidates like you.
Optimize your profile by placing plenty of your relevant keywords throughout your profile, but especially in the headline and About sections.
Once recruiters find you through LinkedIn search, they’ll review your profile to make sure your experience and skills meet their requirements.
If your profile passes the test, you may be contacted for an interview.
A LinkedIn article offers these tips:
Dates between your LinkedIn profile and resume should align. Any difference may cause a recruiter to think you are hiding something, which is a major red flag.
Just because you are a part of numerous groups does not mean you have to participate in them all, but it will expand your network. So, join as many industry-specific and local groups that you can find so that you appear in recruiter searches.
The more endorsements and recommendations you receive from former and current colleagues, the better. If you are having trouble receiving recommendations, simply reach out to your connections and ask. Most people are happy to help.
Keep in mind that, when recruiters land on your LinkedIn profile, they’re looking for things like:
- Information that supports your qualifications
- Whether you appear professional
- What other people are posting about you
- A reason NOT to hire you
That last item brings into play any negative information they find about you on LinkedIn (or elsewhere online).
To attract more of the right recruiters on LinkedIn, you’ll need to keep your profile and LinkedIn activity clean, and build up the right kind of content on your profile, your updates and other activity.
How to get the right recruiters on LinkedIn to contact you
Recruiters and other hiring decision makers at the companies you’re targeting spend a lot of time searching LinkedIn to source and assess candidates. They search using various relevant keywords related to job title, areas of expertise, and other factors.
To guarantee that the right kind of recruiters touch down on your profile, make sure it contains the keywords that will attract them.
You will have determined what those keywords are when you did your initial targeting and research work, to write content for your LinkedIn profile.
Unfortunately, you’re still likely to hear from recruiters who are NOT right for you, but your keyword-rich content will help draw more of the right recruiters to you.
How important are keywords to recruiters?
Former recruiter Biron Clark described how he assessed LinkedIn profiles to source candidates:
“After checking your work history, I’m going to search your profile for important keywords and skills that are required for the job I’m considering you for.
To do this, I will click on CTRL+F in my web browser, to activate a search of the page I am viewing, and then type in the most important keywords for the role. This is usually between two and four keywords, focused on the skills required for the job I’m filling.
This quick search saves me time and prevents me from having to read your whole profile if you’re missing the top one or two skills that are required for the job.
What does this mean for you as a job seeker?
If you are targeting a certain type of job, make sure the essential keywords appear on your profile. Look at the job descriptions of the positions you’re applying for, and include as many of those skills and keywords as possible and appropriate for you.”
He suggests that the skills showing up near the top of job descriptions, and those mentioned several times, are probably the most important ones, so be sure to use those, if applicable to you.
Recruiters can find you via Skills searches. So be sure your relevant keywords show up in your Skills section.
The right kind of recruiters will also find you on LinkedIn if you’re actively promoting your brand, subject matter expertise and thought leadership by posting updates and articles, commenting on others updates and articles, and leveraging LinkedIn Groups.
How to find the right recruiters on LinkedIn
Here are 3 ways to do this:
1. Re-connect via LinkedIn with the executive recruiters you’ve used in the past
See if they’re still around and if they’re still a good fit for you. Send them a brief email to re-introduce yourself, and mention that you’ve worked together in the past.
2. Ask your network(s) for recommendations
Your closest network of people may be the best resource for all things job search and career. They’ve probably had similar experiences, and can offer support and advice. Same goes for recruiter recommendations.
3. Search LinkedIn for executive recruiters
Here’s how to search for recruiters on LinkedIn, as of this writing:
- Look for the search field at the top of your profile.
- Place your cursor in the field, type in “recruiter” and click on “recruiter in People” in the drop-down.
- A second menu appears below the search field. Click on “All Filters”.
- Narrow your search by ticking off filters (Location, etc.)
- Scroll down to “Industry” and tick off “Staffing and Recruiting”.
- Click on “Show results” at the bottom of the page and a list appears.
Send a personalized invitation to connect to any recruiters who look promising. More about that below.
How to reach out on LinkedIn and introduce yourself to recruiters
Recruiters say they’re very receptive to receiving LinkedIn InMail or LinkedIn messages from candidates whose career goals align with the recruiter’s niche or area of specialty.
You want recruiters to actually open and read your LinkedIn InMails and then respond to them, right?
After all, recruiters are busy people, sometimes overwhelmed by unsolicited emails from people they don’t know. They’re in the habit of ignoring InMails when they contain various blunders.
What NOT to put in InMails to recruiters
According to the Undercover Recruiter, here are some questions and requests you should avoid when reaching out to recruiters:
- Can you help me find a job?
- Do you have any job openings that fit my profile?
- Can you review my resume and send me your edits / feedback / suggestions?
- Can you please send me John Doe’s email address / phone number?
- Do you know anyone at Acme Company?
- Can you endorse / recommend me?
In my post, How To Get Executive Recruiters’ Attention With The Right Email Messages, I noted that it’s important to show recruiters that your InMail deserves their attention.
Here are some things from the article that may cause recruiters to ignore your InMails:
- Questions that five minutes of research can answer
- Anything too generic
- Blanket requests for job-search help
- Anything that makes them look up basic info on you
- Anything too long
There are different kinds of recruiters. Learn about them.
A corporate recruiter is not focusing on getting you a job or helping you find one. Their job is to fill their client companies’ openings. Asking them to help you find a job is not realistic.
The RIGHT way to write to recruiters on LinkedIn
As expected, your initial outreach to recruiters should include a brief explanation of why you’re contacting them.
Here’s what goes into InMails that get the attention they deserve:
- A clear objective, request, or call to action
- Messages that are personal, accurate, and specific
- A measure of polish
How to write a first LinkedIn InMail to recruiters
Job search strategist Laura Smith-Proulx offered a sample script, which you can adjust for your own circumstances, in which you should specifically outline your qualifications for the kind(s) of jobs you’re seeking:
“As an IT auditor engaged in a search for new positions within the Chicago area, I am interested in finding out more about the positions you source. I’ve recently completed an assignment with Ernst & Young, and my intent is to build relationships within the banking community. I welcome any suggestions you might have for me, and as I maintain contact with colleagues in the auditing field, I can also help refer candidates to you. Thank you for your time.”
If you’ve had any dealings with recruiters, you’ve probably received responses from them that they’ll “keep you in mind for any opportunities that would be a good fit for you”.
Don’t leave it there.
Smith-Proulx suggests getting back in touch with recruiters about once a month, to stay top-of-mind with them. Reiterate briefly your situation and career goal, and let them know you’re still interested in working with them.