How to Reach Out to a Recruiter to Jump Start Your Job Search

June 5, 2023
By Nelson Connects

A recruiter is a great resource for anyone looking for a new job. Recruiters work to connect job seekers with potential openings and may often have insider information about positions before they are posted.


Many candidates know they want to work with a recruiter, but don't know how or when to get in touch with one. This article will explain the best time to contact a recruiter and what you should say when you connect.


When should you contact a recruiter?


The best time to contact a recruiter is when you're actively looking for a job or just beginning your job search. Recruiters can help you with your job search by providing you with leads and resources.


You can also reach out to a recruiter if you're just passively exploring new opportunities. This way, you can build a relationship with them, and they will be more likely to help you when you're ready to actively start looking for a job. They may also send you job openings at this stage for you to consider.


What should you say when reaching out to a recruiter?


When you reach out to a recruiter, you should be professional and courteous. You should also have a good understanding of what you're looking for in a job.


Introduce yourself and explain why you're contacting them and where you are currently in your job search. You can also ask the recruiter if they have any career advice or resources that could help you prepare for your next job opportunity.


Contacting recruiters on LinkedIn


LinkedIn is a very popular way to get in touch with a recruiter. Using the search functionality, you can easily find recruiters that work at staffing agencies or recruiters who work for specific companies. Once you find the recruiter with whom you want to connect, there are a few different tactics you can use:

  • Send connection requests: If you aren't yet connected with the recruiter, you can send a personalized note with your connection request if the recruiter is a second-level connection (you'll need to use InMail to send a note to a 3+ connection). You only get 300 characters, but that's enough to quickly explain why you want to connect and add the recruiter to your network. Once they accept your connection request, you can send them a longer message to follow up.

  • Send a message: If you are connected with the recruiter already or if they have a premium account and have enabled Open Profile (many recruiters have this feature turned on), you will be able to send a message directly to them. Simply click on the blue message button underneath the profile picture on their page.

  • Send an InMail: If you have a premium account, you will be able to send an InMail message to a recruiter without an introduction or contact information. InMail works similar to an email and is a more formal way of communicating compared to a normal LinkedIn message. A paid basic premium account comes with a set number of InMail messages a month, but there are various subscription tiers that include additional messages.

Whichever method you use, you'll want to briefly introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in speaking with them. In your follow-up message, you can attach a resume and mention any relevant experience and work history.


Example LinkedIn connection message to a recruiter:

Hello Steve,

My name is John Smith. We've never met, but I notice you work at ABC Company. I'd like to connect with you to discuss the open positions in your marketing department.

If you have time to talk, I'd love to tell you more about my experience and why I'd be a great fit.


Contacting recruiters by email


Email is another informal yet effective method to reach out to a recruiter. Unlike LinkedIn, you're able to write all of your information in your initial message rather than waiting for a connection request to be accepted.


When reaching out to recruiters by email, be sure to follow these general rules:

  • Have a clear and concise subject line: Recruiters receive dozens or even hundreds of emails a day. Get right to the point with your subject line so they will open your email.

  • Use their name: Even if you are sending the same general message to multiple recruiters, customizing the greeting adds a personal feel to your email.

  • Explain how you got their contact information: You can search online for the email address of a corporate recruiter or see if contact information is listed on their LinkedIn profile. If you're having trouble finding a specific email address, see if you can find the contact information for someone else at the company. Generally, businesses will use the same naming convention structure for their email addresses — something like — so you might be able to make a pretty educated guess. If you got their email through a referral, this is the opportunity to name drop as well.

  • Explain why you are reaching out: Get right to the point. Describe the reason for the email (looking to network, searching for a job, asking for career advice, etc.) and ask for a conversation. You can also attach your resume, if applicable.

  • Give them options for responding: In addition to your email address, provide a phone number in case the recruiter prefers that method of communication.

Example email message to a recruiter:

Subject Line: Marketing coordinator job opening at ABC Company

Hello Steve,

I found your email address on LinkedIn. My name is John Smith and I'm reaching out about the marketing coordinator opening posted on ABC Company's career page. I have worked in marketing for the past 5 years and have the experience and skills necessary for the role. Do you have any time this week or early next week for a Zoom or phone call to discuss more about the position and my qualifications? I've attached my resume for your convenience.

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Smith
(123) 456-7890

Contacting recruiters on the phone


Many people do not feel comfortable with a cold phone call, but this can be the best way to connect with a recruiter. Unlike email or LinkedIn where you are waiting for a response and competing with the recruiter’s other priorities, you can jump the line by simply picking up the phone and calling.


If a recruiter picks up the phone, be prepared to have a conversation. You'll want to introduce yourself and explain why you're calling. The recruiter might not have time to talk for long, so be prepared to schedule a more in-depth call.


If the call goes to voicemail, you'll want to follow a similar strategy as if you were sending an email. Explain who you are, how you got their number, why you are calling, and how they can respond to you. Be sure to repeat your name and phone number twice, because there's a good chance they'll miss it the first time.


Example voicemail for a recruiter:

"Hi Steve, this is John Smith and I got your phone number from ABC Staffing Company's corporate directory. I'm calling to discuss any possible marketing coordinator job openings you may have right now. I have worked in marketing for the past five years and have extensive experience in the real estate industry. Please give me a call back at your convenience so we can discuss more about my qualifications and any jobs that you feel I would be suited for. My phone number is (123) 456-7890. Once again, my name is John Smith and my number is (123) 456-7890. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon."

Always follow up with a "Thank You"


Whether you reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn or call them directly, you should always follow up to thank them for their time and see if they need any additional information from you.

If you're looking for a new role or considering a job change, we’re here to help. Contact us to connect with a Nelson Connects recruiter.


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