Reaching out to technical recruiters, besides a few things here and there, should be approached the same way as reaching out to any other person. By default, this requires an understanding of people’s natural responses to certain stimuli.
It might not seem as complicated as configuring a network with a bunch of branches from scratch or automating failover for disaster recovery, but how to deal with and influence people is quite a science too!
Believe it or not, a huge part of the success of public relations companies, politicians, CEO’s, managers, etc. comes from knowing how to awaken an eager interest and want in other people. When reaching out to technical recruiters, this should be your goal. You want to get them excited or curious about speaking to you, and you want to give them a very good reason to do so.
This is not that hard. In fact, the method I’m about to teach you might sound way too simple. Yet, public relations firms have been using it for years for one reason: it actually works!
So, without any further ado, here’s the ultimate guide to reaching out to the best technical recruiters (or any important person really) and make them want to talk to you even if you suck at writing:
Do your research, don’t be lazy
Nowadays, there are recruiters for all kinds of jobs. Even in IT, there are technical recruiters who specialize in different roles and career stages. Technical recruiters need to find candidates to keep their job, so they won’t be annoyed about having too many candidates to choose from.
That said, it is critical that you’re reaching out to the right kind of recruiter. Otherwise you’re most likely going to get ignored and/or waste your time. Make sure you research what kind of jobs they usually look to fill and what career stage/s they focus on.
For example, if you’re a soon-to-be graduate looking for an internship don’t contact technical recruiters who usually hire for positions with more seniority. This can be easily done by reading over technical recruiters’ profiles on a couple of social media platforms.
You must realize that everybody else knows that technical recruiters are constantly looking for candidates so they are probably getting a ton of messages and contact requests every day. That said, they might check them out, but will only pay attention to the ones relevant to them.
Step 2 (message #1)
Make them feel important/appreciated by asking a very thoughtful and/or considerate question
According to some of the most renowned thinkers of human history, one of the key characteristics of human nature is that of having a desire to be great and feel important. We all want to feel like we matter and that we are appreciated.
If you keep this in mind, you will be able to catch anyone’s attention just by tapping into their self-interested being. A great, if not the best way to do it, is by giving a person a high reputation to live up to and, very subtly, asking him/her to back it up.
You can easily apply this principle by asking them a thoughtful and/or considerate question that only an experienced professional could answer. Thus, implying they are an expert and making them feel important. I must admit this can be a little tricky but with a little bit of research you’ll be able to come up with a good and unique question to ask.
Nonetheless, you can’t just ask any question bluntly before setting up the stage for yourself. Once you come up with a good question, follow the structure of this template to write your message (don’t worry if they don’t reply to your first message. You must be persistent. That said, you must do it the right way. You don’t want to annoy anyone).
Note: check technical recruiters LinkedIn summaries. Sometimes they write long paragraphs describing themselves, what they do, and many other things that can give you a baseline to come up with a good-unique question.
I know technical recruiters have to work very hard to find the best candidates, and that sometimes people complicate things for them. (notice how sympathetic this first sentence is)
You’re obviously an expert in your profession so I wanted to ask you a question: [insert question] (needless to say, you’re telling them that you think they are an expert, making them feel important).
I’m just trying to get a sense of what to do to prepare better for when I look to break into IT in the future. (Sincere reason for you to reach out. However, notice you’re not asking him to check your resume or consider you at all).
Hope you’re having a great day!
[your first name]
Selflessly provide something of value to them
Obviously your expertise is in IT, not in IT recruiting, so providing value to technical recruiters might be very tricky. However, keep in mind that many times, what matters the most is your intention. Good people will always appreciate good intentions.
To do this, you must first understand the struggle that technical recruiters go through to find good candidates (read this article to get a good idea). Knowing the hardest part about their job, look for up-to-date tools/resources that can make technical recruiters’ lives easier.
You’ll probably have a hard time finding something they don’t already know of. Nonetheless, you’ll still be able to have the desired effect on them by going out of your way to selflessly help him or her out. Depending on whether the recruiter replies to your first message or not you’ll want to approach the second message differently.
Template 1 (if no reply to first message)
I know people sometimes make your job harder by [insert pain point/frustrating action].
You probably already know this but if you use [link/name of solution] you’ll be able to fix/avoid having to put up with it. Anyways, just thought it could be of a lot of help to you.
[your first name]
P.S. Quick question: do you know why so many recruiters struggle to find candidates? It seems there are way too many people looking for jobs for that to be the case.
Template 2 (if he/she replied to your first message)
Note: keep in mind you asked a question on the first message so he/she should have replied with an answer to your question.
[Address their reply, thank them for their advice if applicable]
Ex: Thank you for taking the time to reply and for giving me valuable advice, [recruiter’s name].
[Agree with whatever they said. Then lead the conversation towards one of their main pain points/frustrations (listed in the article linked above)]
Ex: I agree, too many people have too little hands-on experience and think that they are ready to break into a job and add value to companies only because they got one or two certs.
[Offer your solution starting with “You probably already know this but…[insert solution].”
Ex: You probably already know this, but there’s this entry/associate level certification where people have to prove themselves using up-to-date networking equipment and performing real world tasks. Zero written testing!
[close by wishing him/her a good day or with some form of goodwill]
Ex: Maybe this can make your job easier? Anyways, just thought it could be of a lot of help to you.
[your first name]
Ask them to check out your profile
Needless to say, even before you send them the very first message you need to make sure your profile is on point (you never know if they decide to check you out simply because they got a notification saying you viewed their profile). Likewise, try to figure out if the technical recruiters you’re reaching out to have gotten people hired for jobs similar to the ones you’re looking for.
Once you’ve provided value in any way, you can move on to make your request. Don’t hold back when doing so. Reach out to them like if you were 100% sure that they will like what they are going to see.
Keep in mind that you must make sure the recruiter’s job involves filling the particular position you’d like to land. Also, understand they might not be looking to place people at the moment. Yet, it is likely that they will in the near future. Anyway, regardless of what the case is, it is good to form relationships with as many technical recruiters as you can. You never know when they will come in handy.
Could you please check out my profile? I’m pretty sure I can help you fill one of your positions fast, and perform very well in it.
I just got certified in-person by former IT Air force Instructors and Cisco systems engineers, and I’m ready to break into a job as a [insert job title].
Could you please check out my profile?
Note: don’t be afraid to send another message after this one if they don’t reply to your initial request. There’s nothing wrong with following up!
Follow these guide and you will eventually be able to form relationships and get job offers from technical recruiters who work for great tech companies. Next step, make sure you know how to write cover letters and resumes that work in your favor.