As a working professional, you’ve probably considered looking for new job opportunities at one time or another. When you hear talk of how amazing certain companies are to work for, it can definitely seem like the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. However, getting over that fence can sometimes feel insurmountable.
Having a good relationship with a recruiter can be the ladder you use to make it over into those greener pastures. By connecting with recruiters and sharing what you have to offer, you’ll be on their radar if and when the right opportunity does arise.
When you’re reaching out to a recruiter by email, the following tips can help you put your best foot forward.
1. Prepare to Present Yourself
Reaching out to a recruiter is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you intend to connect with a recruiter, be prepared, and don’t send them a vague email request that’s hard to say yes to.
Instead, give them a reason to connect with you and make it easy for them to do what you want. If you want to be considered for/placed in specific roles, to get information about a position, or to be added to their ongoing database, ask specifically. Demonstrate, via your resume and communications skills, why you’d be an asset and why it would benefit them to do what you’re asking.
2. Don’t Be Intimidated
Emailing someone you don’t know can definitely be nerve-wracking, especially if you feel like you’re asking for a favor.
Remember that you have a lot to offer, and reach out to recruiters with the mindset that your connection could be mutually beneficial.
3. Do Show Respect
Writing your email in a thoughtful manner and with a respectful tone can go a long way. Don’t be too casual when you’re drafting your message, and take the time to show that you have value and why you believe their opinion and a connection with them is important.
4. Pick the Perfect Time
It’s extremely annoying when you get a phone call from someone asking if it’s a good time (obviously, you’ve already interrupted your day to answer, right?). With email, thankfully, there’s no real ask like this involved, since you can’t dictate when (or if) your recipient will read your message.
However, sending an email at the right time can make it a little more likely that your message will be read, and that you’ll be noticed. Research shows the best time to send an email is 2 p.m.
That may or may not be the case for the field or industry you’re targeting, so you should do your own research to determine when your recruiter might be in the office.
If a company holds summer hours, for example, then emailing on a Friday afternoon in July might not make the most sense. Or, if you’re reaching out to an accounting firm and you know they’re frantic during the busy tax season, you might be better served saving that message until they’ve had a chance to slow down and catch their breath.
Once you’ve selected an optimal time, you can use email productivity tools to schedule your message and land it in their inbox, instead of waiting around to manually send it on your own.
5. Be Informed About Who You’re Emailing
When you’re sending a message to a recruiter that you don’t have a personal connection with, this email is your one shot to impress them, so take time to do some research.
Your email message should show that you understand the recruiter’s role at the company and that you’ve done your due diligence before emailing.
If you’re reaching out to multiple recruiters, an enrichment tool can help you collect information about recruiters online so you have a fuller overall picture of their company and role. Then, you can customize; personalization works, in both large campaigns and individual messages.
6. Show a Little Personality
If you’re sending an email, you want your grammar and style to be impeccable. However, crafting a perfect email doesn’t mean your message has to be bland; use this as an opportunity to show what makes you special.
If you’re trying to land an email marketing job, for example, your email message to the recruiter should be on point. If you can’t sell them on you, why should they believe you can sell their product convincingly?
7. Proofread, and Then Spellcheck
You can’t proofread too often. Make sure that your email is both proofread and spellchecked thoroughly.
Proofreading means catching grammatical errors, smoothing out your content, and making sure your message is on point. Spellchecking, on the other hand, catches those random typed-too-fast mistakes.
While you could analyze your own writing all day, it also makes sense to ask a friend for help with this task. They can read without a sense of familiarity that may obscure errors, and they can also give qualitative input on how to make your message more compelling, where you might need to elaborate more, or where you might need to be a bit more strategic with your messaging.
8. Make a Good, Solid Draft
Recruiters typically spend less than 30 seconds reviewing resumes, so you want to make sure both your resume and your introductory email are meaty, not fluffy.
Create a draft message that you can use for all recruiters, something that showcases your successes and makes you seem imminently hireable.
9. Then, Customize Your Draft
Once you have a great template to work from, add in the little things that show you’re on the ball and paying attention. For example, if you see that a recruiter’s company has been highlighted for reaching a milestone, or if the recruiter has received recognition for something, make mention of that as a reason for your interest in the company.
Personalization increases your chances of success – everyone likes hearing that what they’re doing makes an impact. The recruiters you connect with are no different.
10. Leverage Any Connections You Have
Eighty-five percent of all positions are filled through some sort of networking connection. Referrals and using names of friends/colleagues can help you catch the attention of the recruiter and make them more likely to be willing to connect with you.
Since someone they know is virtually vouching for you, they’ll feel more comfortable giving your email and resume a second look (check out this article for some subject line ideas).
One other caveat on this topic – if you’re going to use the name of a friend or colleague, you should definitely run it past them first. You don’t want them to be caught unawares if the recruiter reaches out and asks for their feedback on your personality, background, and skills.
11. Follow Up (But Don’t Be Obnoxious)
It’s okay to send a follow-up message. Make sure it’s polite, friendly, and to-the-point.
It’s even better if you can provide something of value in the follow-up – like an article or whitepaper that pertains to their industry, or a link to a webinar.
Just don’t be annoying about following up. It’s okay to send a follow-up message, but more than one or two messages is overkill and will not endear you to a busy recruiter.
And whatever you do, don’t use the phrase “just following up.” You want to sound upbeat and interested, not scolding or passive-aggressive.
Building relationships with recruiters can take time, and every pitch will not be successful. However, with these connections, you can start to create a network that will serve you throughout your career, even during the times when you’re not specifically looking for a job.