Avoid the typical blunders in executive recruiter emails too many executive job seekers make.
The major piece in your job search strategy should be networking your way into the companies and organizations you’re targeting, so that you can tap into the goldmine of hidden jobs there.
You also want to get the attention of executive recruiters in your field, so they’ll keep you top-of-mind when a good-fit opportunity for you comes their way.
But they’re busy people, sometimes overwhelmed by unsolicited emails from people they don’t know.
They’re in the habit of deleting emails, or hitting “Ignore” on LinkedIn, when they contain various blunders.
And you’ll probably never know why, or if, they’ve overlooked you.
You don’t want to risk them ignoring or getting rid of your email, before they see what a great candidate you are, right?
So how do you make your email messages to them stand out, so they’ll actually fully read them and respond to them?
For one thing, according to Lars Schmidt in a Fast Company article, Recruiters Explain Which Types Of Messages They Actually Reply To:
“Show recruiters you take networking seriously enough to deserve their attention.”
Fast Company asked a handful of recruiters which messages they delete and which ones they’ll respond to. Granted, this is a very small sampling, but their answers are telling, and the advice is good.
Here’s what the article says they found:
Things That May Cause Recruiters To Ignore or Delete Your Email
Questions that five minutes of research can answer.
If you’re not willing to put a little time into finding the answer yourself, they’ll wonder whether you’ll be willing to put in the effort and perform well at the company.
Anything too generic.
If your message is an obvious mass email, they’ll spot it, and be turned off. Personalize and customize the content. Take some time and research the recruiter to find out tidbits about them that you can refer to. This is how you begin to build a relationship.
Anything that makes them look up basic info on you.
Let them know the basics about you, right off the bat – who you are, where you work and what you want to do next.
Anything too long.
Keep it short and sweet, and show that you’re genuinely interested. A great tip noted in the article: Add hyperlinks to provide more information without adding length.
Blanket requests for job-search help.
There are different kinds of recruiters. Learn about them. A corporate recruiter is not focusing on getting you a job or helping you find one. Their job is to fill their client companies’ openings. Asking them to help you find a job is not realistic.
For more on the types of recruiters and what they do, see Job-Hunt.org’s article by Susan P. Joyce, How to Find Jobs Working with Recruiters, Staffing Firms, and Head Hunters.
Things That Should Get Recruiters To Respond To Your Email
A clear objective, request, or call to action.
Don’t beat around the bush. Let them know in your first email why you’re reaching out to them, and what you hope they’ll do for you.
Don’t bombard them with your various awards and accolades, especially if you email them via LinkedIn, and those things are on your profile. Tell them about your work and what you have to offer, without overselling.
But you can go overboard with modesty. Be sure you don’t come off as needy or desperate.
Messages that are personal, accurate, and specific.
Tell them why you’re a good fit for the specific type of job you’re interested in. What will you do to benefit the company? You should have researched the industry and company to uncover pain points and determine how you will problem-solve.
A measure of polish.
Don’t let any typos or grammatical errors go when you hit “send”. Recruiters complain about this all the time. Have someone proofread for you. Don’t rely solely on Spell Check.
More Questions to Avoid in Email Messages to Executive Recruiters
Additionally, the Undercover Recruiter posted a list of 10 questions and requests via LinkedIn that are sure to turn off a recruiter, including the following. Some of these may seem obviously wrong to do, but they happen surprisingly often.
- Can you help me find a job?
- Do you have any job openings that fit my profile?
- Can you review my resume and send me your edits / feedback / suggestions?
- Can you please send me John Doe’s email address / phone number?
- Do you know anyone at Acme Company?
- Can you endorse / recommend me?
Be Mindful of Your Email Address and Subject Line
Two other critical things you need to be mindful of when emailing executive recruiters (or anyone, really), are your email address and the subject line.
These are the first things people and your spam filter will see.
If you have an off-putting email address, or an inappropriate or non-existent or spammy-sounding subject line, what do you suppose will happen?
The recipient will hit “delete” and/or the email will land in the spam filter, and may not be retrieved or seen.
And you’ll probably never know if that’s why you got no response to your email.
More details about this in my post, Executive Job Search Email Mistakes: Careless Email Address and Subject Line.
Avoid the various tactical errors noted above.
For tips on working well with recruiters, see my post Work With America’s Best Executive Recruiters.
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