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During the talk Carlos Gil and I gave at SXSW (Resumes Suck! 7 Ways to Find a Job With Social Media), we had a handful of questions that I wanted to follow up on. One in particular I thought was important was a question about how job seekers and candidates should best reach out to hiring managers and recruiters before they formally apply for a job.
In my work many years ago as a resume writer and career coach, this was one of the most effective ways to land hidden job opportunitites from recruiters and hiring managers directly or from friends, colleagues and referrals who can make introductions for you.
These days it’s relatively easy to find people’s email addresses thanks to Chrome extensions like Email Hunter. Sometimes recruiters (conveniently) share their email address on their website or LinkedIn Profile, but if not you can find them in online databases like WhoIs which serves as a website registry.
Because only 2% of candidates who apply for jobs are considered for positions after applying using a company application process, I encourage candidates to reach out to recruiters and hiring managers directly. Email is the best and most non-intrusive way.
Gmail tools like YesWare can be used by job seekers to receive notification that a recruiter has opened up an email. That’s similar to one of the benefits of the LinkedIn Business Account function – I’m able to see when people have viewed my profile and can take action to engage, follow up or reach out to them.
3 Sample Email Templates Job Seekers Can Send To A Recruiter
In terms of candidates engaging recruiters and hiring managers, there are three types of messages you can consider when you are doing your reachout to inquire about opportunities at a company or specific positions. These messages are labor intensive, meaning that there is a great deal of research and customizing to be done. Carlos mentioned in our talk that it’s a good idea to create an employer hit list and focus on 10-15 target companies you are most interested at working in. This helps focus your efforts to make sure you do the work and build the relationships the right way.
I’ve included 3 sample email templates you can use to reach out to recruiters in a non-aggressive, professional but casual way. These templates are meant to be updated and customized depending on the job, your experience and based on your specific needs.
#1 – The Informational Interview Reach Out
The informational interview is a bit of a lost art form. It’s a great way to engage recruiters or hiring managers if there aren’t any job openings listed on their career site. I use my Workology Podcast as a form of an informational interview to build new connections, relationships and as a consulting customer acquisition tool. As an interested job seeker during an informational interview, you ask questions about the company culture, hiring process and learn about the selection process. These are time consuming but an effective way to build a relationship and make an impression with someone at your hit list company.
Dear <insert name>,
My name is and I would love to schedule an informational interview. I’ve heard great things about your company culture and would like to learn more about the hiring and selection process. I’m developing a article series on LinkedIn Publisher (or your blog) featuring local employers who have great reputations, sharing with the community just what makes a great place to work.
The interview would take no more than 30 minutes. It’s a Q&A style format. I’d love to schedule a time to stop by and meet with you in person and get a tour of the offices before publishing my story.
<insert your name>
The beauty of this day and age is that everyone is a publisher whether its a podcast, blog like this one, LinkedIn Publisher, Medium and starting later this month Facebook. You don’t have to be an amazing writer to write question and answer type stories. Most importantly, this puts you directly in front of the recruiter where you can send a follow up message, after your article goes live, saying that you enjoyed talking with them and would be interested in being a part of their team.
#2 – The Referral Email
One of the best ways to accelerate the hiring process is using a referral email for a direct introduction to a recruiter or hiring manager for a friend, peer or colleague. This was one of my favorite tactics in my resume writing days. A simple targeted email sent to 5 people resulted in a hire for an engineer who had 30 years of work experience but no college degree. Because he didn’t have the educational requirement, he kept getting disqualified from job openings even though he had enough experience.
The referral email is sent to a handful of your most trusted contacts. The smaller the better, and I recommend that you send a personalized note instead of blasting or messaging everyone in a form of spray and pray.
Dear <insert friend’s name>,
Earlier this month, I made the decision to begin looking for a new career opportunity. It’s been a great <insert number of years> working at <insert company name> as their <insert job title>. I’m looking for a new company to challenge me and grow my skill set in <insert skill name>, <insert skill name>, and <insert skill name>.
I’m focusing my job search on five different companies in the <insert city name> metro area for a career opportunity as an <insert job title>, <insert job title> or <insert job title>. I would appreciate your help by providing a direct introduction by email or phone to anyone you know who works at any of the companies listed below.
- Name of company #1
- Name of company #2
- Name of company #3
- Name of company #4
- Name of company #5
Please include my LinkedIn Profile in your introduction <insert LinkedIn Profile link> and a short introduction about me that includes my <xx> years of experience in the fields of <insert skill name> and <insert skill name> and that I’m interested in a job opportunity as a <insert job title>.
Thank you so much for you assistance. Let me know how I can help you.
#3 – The Application Follow Up Email to a Recruiter or Hiring Manager
Recruiters are some of the most visible professionals on the web today and following up with them via email or on social media after applying for a job opening, can also be an effective way to improve the likelihood that you will receive a response from the company. I like to engage recruiters on multiple channels to help ensure they will at least open the message. You can send them a tweet telling a recruiter you just shot them an email and are awaiting their response or a quick note on LinkedIn paraphrasing your email.
When sending any kind of email, I suggest using an email extension tool like the above mentioned YesWare to update you on when your message is opened. This helps ensure that your email is getting to the right person and in a timely way.
Dear <insert recruiter name>,
I recently applied for a job opening at <insert company name> for the position of <insert position name> on your online career site. The position fits perfectly with my experience in <insert experience>, <insert experience> and <insert experience>. You can learn more about me by viewing my LinkedIn Profile <insert LinkedIn Profile url>.
I recently followed you on <insert social media site> and appreciated the valuable resources you are providing for job seekers and the way you interact with candidates. I’m a fan of <insert sports team, type of animal or other interest> too.
I’d love to set up a time to schedule a call and talk about the position and my experience. I have some availability on <insert days> next week from <insert time span with time zone>. You can email me at <insert your email address> or by phone at <insert phone number>. I look forward to scheduling some time with you.
<insert your name>
Accelerate Your Job Search with Email
Use the power of the internet combined with email messages to engage, customize and make an impression with recruiters and hiring managers that encourages them to learn more about you. While the job search process is a numbers game, you can stack the odds in your favor by doing research, customizing your messages and tapping into your professional network in creative, targeted ways. Email isn’t dead. Email and sample templates are one of the most effective ways to accelerate your job search and improve your chances of landing an interview. I’ve also included the slide from our SXSW talk below.
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