How to Reach Out to a Recruiter on LinkedIn

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Reaching out to a recruiter on LinkedIn is one way to explore new opportunities. Learn how to identify the right recruiter, optimize your profile, send a connection request, and craft an introductory message.

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When you’re looking for a new job, a LinkedIn recruiter might be able to help. To reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn, you should optimize your profile first. Next, you’ll search for the right recruiter, send them a connection request, and write a short message explaining your goals.

About 30 percent of people on LinkedIn are actively seeking a job, according to LinkedIn. However, about 87 percent of LinkedIn users are open to a new job opportunity, whether they’re actively seeking it or not [1]. 

If you’re a motivated job seeker, these steps can help you find the right recruiter, reach out to them, and understand how recruiter compensation works. 

How to find the right recruiter

Seventy-two percent of recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates, according to Jobvite's 2020 Recruiter Nation Survey, so it’s important to find one that matches your needs [2]. To help narrow the search, use these tips: 

Search by location or industry

If you’re looking for a job in a specific city, use the LinkedIn search bar. You can narrow the search fields by using the Locations filter. Search for “recruiter” with the city selected. 

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to use the Company filter. While you can’t search for a specific company like Google, you can narrow the results by adding an industry, location, and company size.

Ask for recommendations 

Has a friend recently switched jobs with the help of a recruiter? If so, ask them for a recommendation. If you have a connection to a recruiter, even if it’s through a friend or former colleague, it can help you make that initial connection. 

Steps to reach out to a recruiter

Ready to reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn? Here’s what you should do:

Optimize your profile

When you reach out to a recruiter, the first thing they will do is look at your LinkedIn profile. Before you send out connection requests, take some time to enhance your profile. Specifically, make sure you:

Identify keywords

Add relevant keywords to your profile like the name of the job you’re looking for or the skills that are needed to do this job.

For example, if you’re looking for a job as a graphic designer, you should place that job title in several places on your profile, and maybe “experienced designer” along with “Adobe Creative Cloud,” to show proficiency in a specific design program.

Update your profile picture

Your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date, ideally taken within the current year. It should be professional and only include yourself. 

Similarly, you should pick a professional cover photo as well. You may need to buy a stock photo that’s relevant to your desired job. Make sure images uploaded are the proper size so they’re crisp and clear. 

Refine your LinkedIn headline 

At the top of your profile, there’s a headline. It’s one of the first things a recruiter will see. Take some time to craft a short, descriptive headline that describes your ideal job and skill set. 

You don’t need to write a grammatically correct sentence, you can use snappy descriptions and break them up with commas. 

Add a bulleted list to your profile summary

The profile summary gives you a chance to introduce yourself to the recruiter and prospective companies. You have 2,000 characters in this space. To make it count, consider summarizing yourself and your experience in a sentence or two and highlight specific skills with a bulleted list. 

Be specific with job descriptions

When you describe the tasks you’ve done, add as many specifics as possible. If you can, add data to support it. For example, a content writer might mention their effort to grow a blog’s audience by a certain percent or improve referral traffic by a certain amount. 

Request recommendations

Before reaching out to a recruiter, ask a few people for recommendations - specifically for your LinkedIn profile. Ask a handful of people at a time to ensure at least two or three are there when your profile is reviewed. 

Send a connection request

Provided you’ve selected a shortlist of recruiters that you’d like to work with, your next step is to send each one a connection request. 

Since there’s no guarantee that a recruiter will accept your request, you can reach out to a few. However, if you’re eyeing a specific job listing that you found on LinkedIn, reach out to the specific recruiter on the listing or contact one recruiter within the company.

Send an InMail messaage

If you upgrade your LinkedIn account to the premium tier, you can send anyone on Linkedin an InMail message - whether they’ve accepted your connection request or not. If you have the means, this can put your name in front of recruiters faster, without relying on them to accept a request from you. 

Next, craft a well-written message. Your message should be 75 words or less that explains who you are, what your experience is, and what you’re looking for. 

Here's an example message:


I wanted to connect and see if we could work together. I’m a data scientist with ten years of experience in the industry who is looking to advance to a management position within this niche. If you have time, I’d like to see if I’m a good fit for any openings that you know about. 

Let’s connect, 

Bob Johnson


Follow-up with a recruiter

If a recruiter is interested, he or she will likely ask you to send over a resume, cover letter, and portfolio. When you send them over, keep your note short, positive, and include your name, email, and cell phone number so the recruiter can easily reach you. 

If you don’t hear back from a recruiter within 3-4 business days, you can send a brief follow-up message. Keep it simple. Ask if they might have time to connect and state your continued interest in a specific job posting or field of work.

Maintain engagement 

If a recruiter accepts a connection request but isn’t responding to your messages, consider engaging with his or her posts. Like an article, comment on posts, or share their content that might interest your audience.  

If you do connect with a recruiter, it’s still good practice to engage with them as much as possible on the platform. 

How is a recruiter paid? 

You might be wondering how a recruiter is paid. The payment structure varies by the type of recruiter you work with. No matter the type, a job seeker isn’t responsible for paying a recruiter. 

If a company has an in-house recruiter, that person is likely paid an annual salary just like any employee. 

If a company uses an external recruiter, he or she usually receives a commission for every person placed within a company. On average, a recruiter gets 22 percent of the base salary of the position they fill [3]. This isn’t taken out of the employee’s salary. It’s a fee the company pays, usually after the candidate is hired.  

External recruiters may also receive a hybrid payment, where they’re paid a small upfront fee to find the talent and then a commission once the candidate is placed in the company. 

If you work with a recruiting agency, a recruiter’s profits are divided up a little differently, but the company using the recruiting services is still responsible for payment. With an agency, the company is usually charged a larger commission, which is then split between the recruiting agency and the recruiter.   

Get started with Coursera

Did you know that you can add your Coursera accomplishments to your LinkedIn profile? Show off your finished courses and certificates to potential employers, or start building job-ready skills in a field like data analytics, project management, or IT support with a Professional Certificate from an industry leader.   

Related articles

Article sources

1. LinkedIn. "The Ultimate List of Hiring Stats," Accessed December 21, 2021.

2. Jobvite. "2020 Recruiter Nation Survey," Accessed December 21, 2021.

3. TopEchelon. "How Recruiters Make Money and Get Paid," Accessed December 21, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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