Every several days or so, I get a short email or LinkedIn message from someone I am typically connected to on LinkedIn saying something along the lines of:

“I’m looking for [this type of role]. Do you have anything for me?” and a CV/resume is attached.

I wouldn’t mind so much if the person knew what kind of roles I was recruiting for and their experience was actually relevant, but most of the time this isn’t the case. Often the job seeker is quite senior and should really know better at this stage of their career. Why is this a wrong way to network with a recruiter?

Firstly, it’s very generic – sometimes my name isn’t even mentioned in an email and it is quite clear this is a template. Sometimes the same letter is sent to several recruiters on bcc! Way to get your email deleted immediately.

Secondly, it is all about what you want.

I do receive such emails a LOT but this approach doesn’t make me want to help this person.

So how should you follow up instead?

Most importantly, personalize your message. Always include the recipient’s name and if it’s been a long time since we’ve connected, remind me how we met.

I have interacted with thousands of candidates in my 11 years in recruitment and have almost 15,000 connections on LinkedIn right now – I am simply unable to remember everyone, especially if we connected 5 years ago.

Don’t make me do the work for you. If we’ve met before, give me an update of what you’ve been up to since then and tell me what specifically you’re looking for. Let’s suppose we’re connected but haven’t spoken much before, and you’re looking for a new career opportunity in the industry I recruit in.

I’d like to see a brief summary of your expertise and key achievements and to know exactly what kind of an opportunity you’re looking for.

It also really annoys me when candidates clearly don’t bother reading my LinkedIn profile before contacting them, because if they did, they wouldn’t think I can help with jobs in oil and gas industry or something  equally irrelevant to what I do.

And finally, don’t always ask for help – offer to help as well.

You can offer to connect me to someone, send an interesting article or make a referral for one of my recruitment projects. If you’re not sure how to help, you can always make a general “please let me know if I can help in any way” offer.

When you send me an email suggesting you’ve read my profile or have done the research on the company I am working for, I will want to help you. I might not always be able to do it immediately, but I’ll be so much more likely to consider you when I have a suitable role open or I’ll refer you to someone else.

When I worked for Expedia for 4 years, I’ve hired so many people that way – they sent a thoughtful email and even if I did not have a role available for them immediately, if they stayed in contact, sometimes a perfect role would come up at a later date.

Following up regularly is important, too. I don’t mean chasing the recruiter weekly – but staying at the front of their mind will ensure that the recruiter is more likely to think of you when a suitable role does become available.


Margaret Buj is an experienced recruiter & Interview Coach who specialises in helping professionals get hired, promoted and paid more.

In the last 11 years she’s interviewed thousands of people across Europe and the US and she’s successfully helped hundreds of job seekers worldwide gets the jobs or promotions they really wanted.

Having worked with people across multiple industries, in both private and public sectors, she’s learnt EXACTLY what it takes to get hired in a competitive job market – and she wants to help you do the same

Schedule a complimentary consultation with Margaret here.



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