What can you do if your job search isn’t going anywhere? Or there simply aren’t that many new positions in your niche? The problem may not be your skills or the job market itself. But rather your approach to job search.
Today many employers simply choose to go through recruiters rather than post jobs directly. That’s why learning how to reach out to a recruiter and network with them is an invaluable skill to have!
What Does a Recruiter Do?
Recruiters help organizations find prospective employees. Using the employer’s requirements, they identify the right candidates to match the role. Recruiters usually take care of seeking out qualified candidates based on the job requirements. Then screening them on the employer’s behalf before scheduling an interview. To get to the employer and the later interview stage, you have to impress the recruiter first.
Some recruiters work independently. They may contract with several organizations to help them find the right employees. Others may be employed directly by the company. In that case, they are only in charge of meeting the staffing needs of one organization. Finally, there are recruiting agencies with a lot of staff members, scouting candidates across industries and job verticals.
Why You Should Network With Recruiters
A job recruiter can truly be your key to finding the so-called “hidden job opportunities” — non-publicly listed jobs.
Essentially, many employers no longer post ads directly to job search websites. Instead, they rely on this hidden job market where they may use professional networks like LinkedIn, referrals and references, or rely on recruiters. Many employers see this as a way to avoid handling applications from people who are a poor fit. In fact, to learn about some of the best jobs, especially for senior executive roles, your only choice may be working with a professional recruiter.
How to Reach Out to a Recruiter
Clearly, the key to success is making and maximizing connections. As expert recruiter Phil Cooksley says, “Your network is your net worth.” And here’s how you can increase it!
1. Attend Events
Employers and recruiters may be backing away from job listings. But they are recruiting in other ways. Networking events and recruiting fairs have become quite popular. The former allows people within an industry or other niches to socialize and form network connections. Recruiting fairs are more formal but essentially accomplish the same thing.
Some good place to find professional networking opportunities are:
Bonus Tip: Consider joining social media groups or professional membership orgs, relevant to your field. This is a great way to expand your network, and get insights into current opportunities.
2. Learn The Difference Between Corporate and Agency Recruiters
An independent or agency recruiter connects with several employers. This means they can ‘market’ you to a variety of job opportunities. A corporate recruiter works with just one company. However, since they are employed by that company, they may have more motivation to ensure you will be a good fit. Overall, it’s a good idea to network with both types.
3. Work on Your LinkedIn Presence
Before you learn how to reach out to a recruiter, you have to find them. Today, your best bet is to use LinkedIn. The problem is that many people create a profile, make some connections, and don’t do anything else.
You have to be proactive. Re-optimize your LinkedIn profile for a new role. Reach out to new contacts and let people know you are looking for a job. Post regular updates, and add the people you meet at networking events. Don’t forget to add a photo, update your list of skills, and mention the services you provide.
How to Connect with Recruiters Online
If you follow the first three steps, you will probably make contact with a recruiter who can help you. Now it’s time to plan your recruiter outreach strategy.
How to Email a Recruiter
The first thing to do is to think from the perspective of the recruiter. Employers are happy when they find new prospects who are a perfect fit for their company. Their compensation comes from the employer too. The second is related to the first. Recruiters are busy, and they are only going to pursue applicants they immediately believe are worthwhile.
Knowing this, you can improve your chances by writing an email that keeps these things in mind. Here are a few tips:
- If you’ve connected with them before, tell them that immediately (how and where).
- Show you understand their line of work and specialty
- Communicate your professional background as an elevator pitch
- Close with a request to connect further and discuss available opportunities
Be sure to attach your resume for their review.
How to Connect With a Recruiter on LinkedIn
With LinkedIn, your approach will depend on whether you’ve made a connection already. If not, your first step should be to send a personalized message with a request to connect. Make it relevant by indicating why you are reaching out.
“Name, I’ve noticed that you specialize in recruiting software engineers. I’m a mid-level Java developer and would love to connect with you!”
Once they accept, follow up with a brief introduction. Thank them for connecting with you. If you are aware of a specific job or company for which they are recruiting, mention that directly.
Note that you are interested, and list one or two things you have to offer. Otherwise, simply list your niche and one or two skills. Then close by asking if they’d be willing to work with you. As always, include your resume.
Final Tip: Work With a Broad Job Search Plan
The best approach to your job search is casting a wide net. Use job listings and other traditional methods. Then, expand out to networking, recruiter outreach, and word-of-mouth referrals. This will best ensure that you land the right opportunity!