When LinkedIn first started out as the world’s first business-social network, they had 20 million users by 2006. Today, LinkedIn boasts of a huge user base of more than 250 million professionals in more than 200 countries around the world. Most professionals are on LinkedIn today, and almost all recruiters and HR professionals maintain an active presence on this website. This makes LinkedIn a great go-to resource for you to access these professionals who potentially hold the key to the door of your career.
LinkedIn allows you to add professional contacts to your list (who you can then message) or message recruiters on LinkedIn directly using the InMail function (which you have to pay to use, generally).
In either case, messaging potential recruiters becomes a valuable tool in landing interviews that can eventually translate into job offers. You have to keep in mind that this is a ‘professional’ networking site, so you have to be very careful in how you use the messaging or connect functions to your advantage. Sending the wrong kind of message can actually lessen your chances of building beneficial connections, so never connect without knowing exactly how you can benefit the person and their company.
The Free Way to Message Recruiters on LinkedIn
For example, here’s a message template you can use when sending an invite to Connect. Connecting doesn’t require you to pay anything, but you should keep messaging etiquette in mind.
At the bottom of the Connect-Message window, LinkedIn asks you to invite people you know and who know you. This is because unwanted messages are really just that – unwanted. It’s a great idea to mention a reference that the other person knows; this will lend a layer of credibility to your message.
Sometimes, LinkedIn users will not enable the Connect option for people outside their network. There’s still a little trick you can use to enable the Connect option, and therefore be able to message them. If you scroll down while viewing a profile, you can see how you’re actually connected to them on the right sidebar (How You’re Connected). If you hover over their profile picture here, you get a menu that will have the Connect option enabled. Please be careful if you decide to message people this way – the reason the Connect option is disabled for you by default is because you’re not logically connected to them as LinkedIn sees it. Use references if possible.
Before you message anyone, make sure your profile is complete and ready to be viewed.
The Paid Way to Message Recruiters on LinkedIn
The InMail option is always available to use, and is professionally more sensible.
That said, if you are in a situation where you can’t spare the money for getting LinkedIn Premium and InMail, the Message via Connect is still an option.
Before You Send Out Your Message
When the recruiter gets your message, they’ll want to look at your profile and make sure that you have the background that’s valuable to them. For that, you’ll want to take care of the following points:
1. A compelling Profile Summary
A profile summary is a quick way to summarize what it is you’re looking for on LinkedIn. It can be your current occupation, or something that you’re passionate about and are looking to get into. A sample profile summary could be something like:
“Experienced UI/UX developer looking to work in the ABC industry”.
2. A complete Employment History
Your employment history is vital for the recruiter to understand your background and capabilities. If you’re new to the workforce, make sure that you fill this section up with the projects you may have undertaken independently or as part of your undergraduate/graduate program.
3. Complete All Other Sections of your Profile
LinkedIn actually gives us a rating tool on the right top corner of our profile page (just for our use). Make sure this tool is at ‘All Star’ status, which means your profile is as complete as it should be.
4. Include Work Samples
LinkedIn gives us the freedom to upload our work samples. This can be an abstract to a paper you presented, a set of slides detailing training you gave, or just simple applications that you tried developing in your spare time. Take care not to upload work samples that belong to organizations you previously worked for that are not meant to be made public.
5. List Skills and Endorsements
List out the main skills or skill sets that are usually required for the kind of job or industry you are trying to get into. Ask your friends to endorse your skills, or you can endorse their skills first and they might return the favor automatically.
6. Participate in Groups
Join professional groups and societies that have active discussions about common and novel topics in your industry. Being active in groups doesn’t mean asking people for a job; you need to contribute to discussions or at least ask questions that are intelligent and meaningful.
7. Get Recommended
Recommendations from professionals are a sure-fire way to instill trust and confidence in your profile. Make sure you have at least one good recommendation from someone above you in designation, or at least a colleague or peer you worked with.