10 min read

LinkedIn Connections: How to Make Contact with Recruiters

Nicole Hankey
November 20, 2022

What you'll learn

What you'll need

LinkedIn is a great place for job seekers and employers to connect, and the primary way this happens is through recruiters. Reaching out or responding to a recruiter for the first time can feel daunting, but the process is probably simpler than you think. To spare you some anxiety, this article will share some tips and examples to get you expertly engaging with recruiters in no time. 

In 2020, 72% of recruiters planned to use LinkedIn as part of their recruiting efforts. Clearly, this professional social media platform is the place to be if you are actively looking for a job, and working with a recruiter can help you find one you'll love. 

What do recruiters do?

A recruiter works with an employer to find candidates for open positions. Staffing agencies or recruitment firms usually employ them, but they may work directly for specific companies or as independent contractors. 

Recruiters are great at finding a good fit between companies and job searchers. For example, a recruiter could help you identify startups that fit your interests, experience, and values if you want to work at a startup. And vice versa—they'll help growing startups identify and reach out to people like you who match what they're looking for in a potential employee.

Why should you reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn?

Between the 30% of people currently looking for a new role and the 87% who are at least open to new opportunities, there's always a reason to connect with a recruiter.

Working with a recruiter can be extremely valuable if you're actively job hunting. They can help match you with companies and roles you're a good fit for, not to mention offer helpful advice on company culture, values, interview processes, and more. 

Beyond the job search, you should still be open to building quality relationships with recruiters. You never know when you might be looking for a new position or when that particular connection will be valuable. That is the main purpose of LinkedIn, after all: to build a network of professional connections. 

How to find the right recruiter

You might find the perfect recruiter for you without even realizing it. This can happen when you have a complete, optimized LinkedIn profile full of relevant keywords and you post great content on Linkedin. If you take the steps to make your profile stand out, it will be much easier for recruiters to find you and reach out about potential opportunities you would otherwise miss out on. 

If waiting for someone to approach you doesn't sound appealing, don't worry. You can also take steps to reach out to recruiters directly. Here's how.

Use LinkedIn search filters

You're not doomed to drown in Google results for "recruiters near me." Instead, take advantage of LinkedIn's search filters and narrow down your search by location and industry. You can even take it further and use company filters as well. 

You'll likely find a great recruiter in your area and industry who works with companies that fit your specifications. You can personally reach out to connect from there. 

Ask your connections

It never hurts to crowdsource. You can always ask a friend or colleague if they know any good recruiters they could connect you with. One benefit of using LinkedIn throughout this process is that being active on LinkedIn allows you to continually expand your professional network.

Check out the job posting

Got your eye on a particular job? There's a good chance there's a recruiter listed along with who you should contact about the position. Otherwise, look for recruiters at that specific company. 

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Steps for reaching out to a LinkedIn recruiter

Once you've discovered a recruiter (or several) that you'd like to connect with, here's what to do next.

Double-check your profile

Hopefully, you've already set up an outstanding LinkedIn profile and filled out every section. If not, check out our guide on how to create a LinkedIn profile

Before you reach out to recruiters, it's good practice to double-check a couple of things. First, make sure your profile picture is a professional, recent picture of you. This is your first impression, so you want to get it right. 

Secondly, you should include plenty of relevant keywords related to your skills and the kind of roles you're looking for. A recruiter will likely scan your profile page for these to assess whether you're a good fit or not, so make them count.

Lastly, consider asking some of your connections for a recommendation. Not sure how to do this? Read our guide to demystify the LinkedIn recommendation process

Request to connect

Now that you've got everything else squared away, it's time to initiate contact. To get started, simply click the blue Connect button on the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile. 

If you've identified a shortlist of recruiters you're interested in connecting with, you can ask to connect with all of them. At this stage, there's no commitment—you're just building your network and seeing where it leads. 

Send a message

After you've connected, you can send a message to introduce yourself to the recruiter and let them know why you're reaching out. It's important to be genuine and show interest.

Keep it short and intentional, highlighting your strengths, experience, and why you're interested in working with them. If you're messaging about a specific role, make sure to say that and demonstrate that you've read the job description by showing how you're a good fit.

Tip: Mention which specific job requirements you meet, emphasizing the most important ones. 

Your message should not be too vague or put the burden on the recruiter. You are responsible for including relevant information in your opening message to have the best chance of forming a strong working relationship with this recruiter. 

Example message template:

Hello (name), 

I wanted to connect and hopefully work with you. As an experienced data scientist of (number of years), I am interested in advancing into a management role at a company where I can use my skills in (list specific skills). If you're available, please let me know if you think I'm a good fit for any open positions you know about. 

Looking forward to connecting, 


Follow up with a recruiter

If a recruiter is interested, they may ask for your CV, cover letter, resume, and/or portfolio. Keep your response concise, and provide contact details (name, email address, and phone number) so they can easily get hold of you. 

If you don't receive a response after a week, you can send a quick follow-up message asking for an update. Just be sure not to sound pushy. Simply ask if there is anything else you can provide for them and restate your continued interest in working with them or in the particular job posting.

Don't be too discouraged if you don't hear back from someone. This is why you made a shortlist of multiple recruiters—just repeat the process with the next one. 

Engage outside of messaging

If you connect with a recruiter but they haven't responded to your message, try engaging with them in other ways. Like, comment, and share their posts. This is a good practice to continue even after you've had a conversation, as it's all about establishing a relationship.

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash


How to reply to recruiters on LinkedIn

Sometimes, if you've crafted a well-rounded profile and optimized it accordingly, recruiters will reach out to you directly via connection request or message. How you respond will depend on the outcome you want. Here are some tips depending on the situation.

How to respond if you're interested

Even though the recruiter has contacted you, replying promptly and appropriately is best practice. Your goal should be to make a strong first impression with your reply, whether you're only slightly interested in the opportunity or it's your dream role.

Example template

Hello [Name],

Thank you for contacting me. This sounds like a great opportunity and company. [List a few details that show you're familiar with the role, company values, and culture.]

You sound like you're looking for a [job title] with specific [skil­ls/experiences] and a talent for [outcomes the employer is looking for]. I think I'm a perfect fit.

I'd love to get together to discuss how my experience can benefit the team at [company name]. And I have a few questions I'd like to ask as well. 

I'm available [list possible dates and times]. Feel free to text or call me at [number], email [address], or message me here.

I look forward to talking further.

[Your name]

How to respond if you're unsure

You might be uncertain about how to reply to potential employers' LinkedIn messages because you aren't currently looking for a new role or you like your current company. You might also be interested in the position but unsure if it's right for you or if you'd enjoy working there. Or perhaps the company sounds great, but you're not sold on the job itself.

Regardless, you should be clear with your response and remain open to further communication until you've decided one way or the other. 

Example template

Hello [Name],

Thank you for reaching out. I'm happy at [company] where I currently work, but I would be open to discussing this new position with you. There could be some interesting opportunities here, and I always enjoy chatting about [list an aspect or two of the job/company/industry].

I'm available [list dates/times], if you'd like to chat. [Provide contact details.]

I look forward to talking soon!


How to respond if you're interested in a different role

Sometimes you may be interested in the company or industry, but not the specific role offered. In this case, you want to clarify that in your response and highlight what you are currently looking for. 

Example template

Hello [Name],

Thank you for reaching out about this opportunity. I am actively exploring new roles, but I would ideally like to find a job that would allow me to [list a few desired outcomes]. It sounds like this position isn't quite what I'm searching for, but do you know of any other roles that could be a better fit? If so, I'd love to connect.

I'm available [list dates/times], if you'd like to chat. [Provide contact details.]

I look forward to talking soon!


How to respond if you're not interested

Even if you aren't interested in the company, the job, or working with the recruiter at all, you should never ignore a recruiter's message. That can hurt your professional brand image and offend a potential connection. Instead, you want to politely decline while thanking them for their consideration. 

Example template

Hello [Name],

Thank you for reaching out about [job title]. While the position seems interesting and [company name] seems impressive, I'm not currently looking for a change. However, if I'm open to new opportunities in the future, I will certainly keep you in mind. 

Thank you for your consideration!

[Your name]


Hopefully, this guide has cleared up the ins and outs of engaging with recruiters on LinkedIn. If you follow the advice above and incorporate some of the templates, you should find, message, and reply to recruiters—and find your dream job in the process! 

If you want some extra help with crafting the perfect message (or boosting your profile), give one of Copy.ai’s free tools a try. Our AI-powered writing tools can generate copy and content in seconds, giving you more time to spend on the job search.

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