LinkedIn is a great place to build a business network and, of course, a place where recruiters, HR pros and hiring managers frequently look for top talent. But, while LinkedIn is a top spot to find new opportunities, some people are better at using this tool than others.
One way to make a mark is to build a network of recruiters, focused on your areas of career interest.
Make Sure Your Profile is Up to Snuff
Before reaching out to recruiters you should make sure that your profile is complete and set up to put your best foot forward.
Evan Donahue is sales and recruiting manager for JMJ Phillip. “It’s always a good idea to make sure your profile is up to date so that when you send connection requests to recruiters they do not have to dig deeper for more information,” says Donahue.
Your profile should provide a deep and detailed overview of your capabilities, background and experiences, targeted specifically to the job you’re looking for. To get some ideas and inspiration for your own profile, it can be a good idea to take a look at the profiles of other LinkedIn members whose career aspirations are similar to yours. You can do this through a search for people in your industry, job role, with your years of experience, etc.
“Provide as much information about yourself, past and present as possible, including projects within your company, publications for which you have written and your own life experience,” says Jeremy Rose, the director of CertaHosting, a web hosting, and technology firm.
Rose recommends. “LinkedIn profiles are a reference point so it’s better to have a solid page with the most important information about your business.”
Be Strategic as You Make Connections
LinkedIn’s search capabilities also can be a good way to get a feel for the types of recruiters that are on the platform. It’s important to take a targeted approach to building your recruiter network, one that will help you get in front of recruiters focused on your industry and type of desired position.
“When looking to build out a recruiter network, you don’t want to blanket connect with everyone, everywhere,” says Donahue. Instead, he suggests: “Be strategic about the kinds of individuals you choose to connect with.” He suggests asking the following questions as you consider the recruiters you’d like to add to your connections:
- Are they recruiters for my industry?
- Are they in positions where they can have an impact on my career?
- Are they relatively tenured?
This process can be streamlined by using some of LinkedIn’s advanced features, suggests Larry Lebofsky, with Way Beyond Resumes, and a recruiter for 20years in the retail and financial technology niche markets. It can be “worth a one-month investment or trial in one of the premium packages with advanced search features,” he says.
Engage and Maintain Contact
When reaching out to connect with recruiters, don’t simply use the “canned” message that LinkedIn provides. Include a personal note that indicates why you’d like to connect. For instance: “I’m a marketing professional in the XYZ industry and I’d love to connect with you to keep up-to-date on changing demands for professionals like me. I’m also glad to point you in the direction of colleagues or peers who might be right for positions you’re recruiting for.”
Keep in mind that making connections isn’t all about what you will receive—it’s also about what you can give. Recruiters appreciate connections that can help them connect with top talent. It may seem a bit counterintuitive to connect with recruiters only to recommend others for available positions. But not all positions will be right for you and you may not be ready to make a move when certain positions pop up. Why not help out the recruiters you’d like to have in your network by recommending others who would be a good fit?
“Once connected, it is important to interact with your new recruiter connections,” says Lebofsky. He recommends: “keeping an eye on their searches and referring candidates as you can, adding comments to their postings, providing industry insight, making yourself available by phone to provide potential referrals and teach them about your career goals in the process.”
Don’t just add connections and forget about them. Continually staying in touch in helpful ways can help keep you top-of-mind. “When you’re ready to make a move, you should have a significant amount of goodwill and familiarity built up, especially if you’ve been a consistent referral source,” says Lebofsky. “You recruiter connections will want to pay you back by supporting your search more proactively than they would the typical candidate who simply shows up when they’re ready to make a move.”
Finally, recommends Rose, don’t limit your activities just to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn account via email and other social networks, Rose recommends. In addition, he suggests: “Add your LinkedIn profile to other social networks and websites, and even add it to your email signature.”
LinkedIn is a top networking tool that has been used successfully by thousands of career professionals to find jobs and other career and business opportunities. Using the channel more strategically to connect with and build a network of recruiters representing your industry and profession can help you hit the ground running when you feel it’s time for a move. And even if you don’t, building a strong recruiter network as a passive candidate will ensure that you won’t miss out on a job you just can’t pass up, even though you’re imminently happy right where you are.