APU Careers Careers & Learning Original

LinkedIn Messages: Getting Responses from Recruiters

By Leia O’Connell, MSW, GCDF
Corporate Recruiter, APUS

As a professional networking platform, LinkedIn provides job candidates a unique opportunity to interact with and be seen by recruiters. But job seekers often become discouraged when they don’t receive responses to their LinkedIn messages sent to recruiters.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

When my position shifted to the employer relations arena two years ago, my LinkedIn network grew rapidly and my time started to focus on talking and listening to recruiters. As a result, I experienced a surge of LinkedIn messages.

It didn’t take long for me to understand why job seekers were shouting about not receiving responses and why recruiters were fully justified in not answering.

Poor Communication Is the Culprit   

Over the past year, I have been delighted to give a few informational interviews. The LinkedIn messages sent to me were carefully written and concise; they demonstrated the reader had looked at my profile and prepared before messaging me. I love to help others—there’s a reason why I have a degree in social work.

But there are many people I wasn’t able to help. So many LinkedIn messages I’ve received seemingly set us both up to fail.

I had no way of moving the conversation forward without providing unsolicited advice, which is a fancy way of saying “I didn’t feel like criticizing them.” Many times, I was tempted to say, “Hey there, I can’t take action on your message because my role doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re asking for.”

Ultimately, that seemed like the potential for a confrontation. Most times, I just wouldn’t respond. Poor communication sets both parties up to fail, but there is a way to capture a recruiter’s attention by revising your message.

How to Catch a Recruiter’s Attention in LinkedIn Messages

Have you ever sent a message to a recruiter that looked similar to this? “Hi, thanks so much for accepting my connection request. I’m looking for XYZ position. Please let me know if you have any roles like this, or if you see any, forward them my way. Thank you.”

A recruiter’s job is to fill open positions assigned to them, typically in a specific area for the company. But it’s your job to find the position you want, apply, and find the recruiter or hiring manager who might oversee the hiring for that job.

Recruiters don’t hide the business areas they oversee. In fact, you can often find this information right on their LinkedIn profile.

Search for recruiters (or talent acquisition specialists) who work for the company. Take a careful look at their profile before reaching out; this is the key to knowing if you’re messaging the right person.

Once you find the right recruiter on LinkedIn, send a message letting them know you’ve already applied. Include your top two or three skills related to the role.

This type of LinkedIn message is how you capture a recruiter’s attention. Does it always work? No.

Does sending blanket LinkedIn messages asking people to think of you during your job search ever work? Almost never.

Every recruiter will feel differently about receiving messages on LinkedIn. Some actively invite candidates to reach out; others firmly discourage it.

You will not always get a response, and some responses will not be helpful. If you don’t receive a response or get a less-than-positive one, keep trying and keep applying. Remind yourself — recruiters often have a substantial workload they’re trying to manage.

I also can’t avoid noting the surge in unemployment due to COVID-19 makes the field even more competitive. Even the most carefully crafted LinkedIn messages may get lost. But you can be sure with more competition, poorly written messages are likely to be skipped altogether.

How to Effectively Message a Recruiter on LinkedIn

If you have a friend or connection who works for the company and can provide you a referral to the recruiter, this is the best way to have your online application get noticed. If not, writing a deliberate message to a recruiter on LinkedIn is still an opportunity to get your online application noticed.

If you’re a job seeker, try these tips for crafting the best possible LinkedIn messages:

  1. Start by researching target companies. Follow these organizations, then connect with and follow their recruiters.
  2. Keep an eye on the companies’ open positions; set up a LinkedIn job alert.
  3. When you see an open position of interest which aligns with your qualifications, tailor your resume and apply first before sending a message.
  4. Look at the recruiter’s profile. I mean really read it. They often mention in their summary or experience section the type of roles for which they recruit. Select the recruiter whom you believe is most likely to fill the requisition. You might get lucky and see them post that they’re trying to fill that exact role.
  5. Send them a carefully worded message:

“Hello, {Name}. I recently applied for XYZ position. I have X years of experience in ABC related field. I recently completed 123 related accomplishment. If you have 10 minutes, I’d love to chat further about the role and application process.

{Your Name}.”

This message is less about you and more about showing the recruiter that you’re a top candidate for the specific position.

Final Edits for Your LinkedIn Messages

The goal of your LinkedIn messages to recruiters is to show how you can help them. If you’re not receiving responses to your LinkedIn messages, consider whether they target the recruiters’ needs and catch their attention. Ask yourself:

  • Does my message illustrate I’ve read their profile?
  • Does it show the two or three skills I have that relate to the position?

If not, it might be time to pull back and revise your message.

Our Career Services department wants you to succeed, find your next best professional fit and land the perfect role. It’s up to you to set yourself up for success.

If you’re an AMU/APU student or alum, our Career Coaches can provide you with personalized guidance on how you can create effective LinkedIn messages. Our services are free for students and alumni, for life. For more information on our services, email CareerServices@apus.edu to learn more or visit our webpage.

About the Author

Leia O’Connell has worked for American Public University System since 2012. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF). Leia has been an Academic Advisor for the School of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), a Graduate Academic Advisor, and a Career Coach. In her current role as a Corporate Recruiter, she forms mutually beneficial relationships with diverse employers. Leia holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hartwick College and a master’s degree in social work from Binghamton University.

Leia O’Connell has worked for the university since 2012 and is currently a Corporate Recruiter. She has been an Academic Advisor for the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, a Graduate Academic Advisor, and a Career Coach. Leia holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hartwick College and a master’s degree in social work from Binghamton University.

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