How to Reach Out to a Recruiter on LinkedIn

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Reaching out to a recruiter on LinkedIn is a way to stand out in a competitive market. Learn how to identify the right recruiter, optimize your profile, and get your messages noticed.

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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 on LinkedIn

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.

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 career 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.

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5 steps to reach out to a recruiter

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

1. 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.

  • 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. Make sure they are uploaded with the proper width and height for a clear, unpixelated image.

  • Refine your LinkedIn headline: Your headline is 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. 

  • 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 percentage or improve referral traffic by a certain amount. 

  • 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, but keep it to 300 words. To make it count, consider summarizing yourself and your experience in a sentence or two and highlighting your specific skills with a bulleted list. 

Read more: How to Write a LinkedIn Summary That Helps You Stand Out

2. 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.

3. 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 financial 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


4. 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, and 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.

5. 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 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.  


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Article sources


LinkedIn. "The Ultimate List of Hiring Stats," Accessed December 19, 2023.

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