If you’re sending an email to a recruiter, there are some things to know if you want them to respond (and some mistakes to avoid).
So after working for almost 5 years as a recruiter, I’m going to share how to email a recruiter with email samples, examples of what not to do, and more.
What we’ll cover:
… All with proven email templates so you can hit “send” worry-free.
Let’s get started…
How to reach out to a recruiter to start a conversation: Your best option for making the first contact is a cold email or cold LinkedIn message. You want to keep your message brief and direct and show that you have a specific reason for messaging this particular recruiter. This will boost your chances of getting a response.
You don’t want to seem like you’re cold emailing 50 different recruiters, because if that’s the case, then none of them will want to put a lot of time or effort into helping you. Most recruiters in staffing agencies get paid when you accept a job, and if 50 other recruiters are submitting your resume for jobs, their odds aren’t very good. So they’ll focus on helping someone else.
So to start, say something like, “Hello NAME. I saw you recruit in the XYZ industry here in Chicago.”
That way, they know it’s not just a cut & paste email.
Next, tell them a bit about yourself, your background, and what type of move you’re looking to make now.
For example, you might go on to say, “I’m a Sales Team Leader over at ABC Company, but I may be looking for a change in the next couple of months, so I thought to reach out to see if it made sense to work together.”
Next, here’s how to end your email to the recruiter:
Conclude by asking them for a time to talk, and telling them you can provide them with more info on the call. This will boost your chances of getting their attention and getting them on the phone!
Whereas if you just send your resume or CV out to a recruiter without them asking for it, it’s very likely to get ignored or placed into a big pile that they never have time to look at.
So here’s a full sample email now, including the pieces above AND how to end your email to a recruiter:
I saw you recruit in the XYZ industry here in Chicago. I’m a Sales Team Leader over at ABC Company, but I may be looking for a change in the next couple of months, so I thought to reach out to see if it made sense to work together.
Do you have a few minutes to talk this week? I’m happy to send a copy of my resume after that if it seems like a good fit to work together.
When you email your resume to a recruiter, it’s best if you’ve had a prior conversation (even if it’s just one back-and-forth email) to discuss why you thought to contact them, what you’re looking for in your job search, etc.
If you cold email your resume to a recruiter, they’re less likely to put time and effort into reading it closely. Whereas, if you email them with a brief note beforehand, as described in the previous section, they’ll be waiting eagerly for your resume and they’ll read it more closely!
You may be wondering: Do recruiters prefer job seekers send a resume in Word or PDF format? They almost always prefer Word format, and you may have been asked specifically for this format in the past, especially when talking to recruiters from a staffing firm or recruitment agency.
The reason recruiters prefer Word format is: It’s easier to edit/change. If there’s a change they recommend, they can quickly call you or email you, get your permission to change it, and adjust it themselves.
And, recruiters often put a “stamp” at the top of your resume before submitting it to the various “clients” (aka employers they recruit for). That way, the hiring manager knows who referred you, so they know who to pay the commission to if you’re hired!
(Most agency recruiters work on “contingency” basis and are paid a fee – usually around 15-20% of your starting yearly salary – when you’re hired. Don’t worry, this does NOT come out of your pay. Ever. This is simply an additional fee that the company pays the recruiter for finding you for them! In fact, this is the only way most companies pay recruiters from staffing agencies).
If a recruiter contacts you, then it’s best to carefully read their email first, and respond with the information they’ve asked for. If they tell you that they have an opportunity that may fit your skillset and they’d like to look at your resume, then you can respond with your resume right away. However, if you’re not comfortable doing this yet, you can ask for more information about the opportunity.
If they ask whether you’re interested in speaking and you do want to talk, then reply and say, “yes,” but also provide some times that you’re available to talk, and the best number to reach you.
This avoids back-and-forth and will impress the recruiter. Every employer loves someone with great communication skills, so this is a good way to show it from the very first message!
Thanks for contacting me! The opportunity sounds great.
I’ve attached a copy of my resume. Let me know the best time to talk and we’ll connect to discuss this further. The best number to reach me is: 555-555-5555
Thanks for getting in touch! The opportunity sounds interesting. Can we connect on the phone for a few minutes to discuss it in more detail? I usually don’t send my resume out without knowing a bit more about the opportunity first.
I’m happy to send you my resume right after we talk if it seems like a good potential fit (or if you have other opportunities that may fit my background).
The best number to reach me: 555-555-5555
Thanks for getting in touch! The position you mentioned sounds interesting. I’d love to talk and hear more about it.
I could talk this week from Wed – Fri, 10 AM – 4 PM Eastern Time.
My phone number: 555-555-5555
Please let me know when you plan on calling so I can make sure I’m ready and available to answer.
The best way to end your email to a recruiter is to sign off with, “Best regards” or “Thank you,” and then your name. You can see this in the email examples above. One more note: Before ending your email, make sure you addressed everything the recruiter asked for. If they requested your resume, you should either attach it or explain why it’s not attached (for example, if you prefer to talk first before sending it).
If you’re writing a cold email to a recruiter and not responding to them, then you should make sure you’ve clearly and directly asked for what you want before ending your email. For example, you could say, “Please let me know if it sounds like a good fit to work together, and we can set up a time to talk this week.”
That’s called a “Call to Action” – a direct request for them to reply with specific information.
When cold emailing, always end your email with a “Call to Action”. This improves your odds of hearing back. This is a tactic that professional marketers have used for years, and you can use it in your job search, too!
If you’re emailing in direct response to a job posted online, then use the template below (and I recommend you DO attach your resume directly, unlike the advice above for other scenarios).
I’m writing in response to the Senior Support Technician job posting. With X years in customer support in the technology industry, I’m confident I’d be a great fit in this role and could help <Company Name> do <main thing they appear to want, based on the job description>.
Here’s a link to my LinkedIn profile so you can learn more about me: linkedin.com/in/yourURL
I’ve also attached my resume to this email. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts after you’ve had a chance to look.
This sample email for a job application can be used whether it’s going to recruiters, hiring managers, or a general company email. Use this when you see a posting online and want to reply directly to the posting to submit your resume for the job.
Never cut & paste a generic email that you’re sending to every company. That’s not going to impress the hiring manager or get you a job offer.
You’ll be much better off if you mention their specific job title, company name, or both. And talk about why you thought to apply for the job and why it’s worth their time to talk to you! (e.g. how you’d help THEM).
You’ll also notice that the job applicant email above contains your LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t have any information on your LinkedIn profile yet, I’d highly suggest filling it out! Hiring managers often look you up even if you don’t provide it. This article explains all of the top reasons to use LinkedIn.
Choose a clear subject line, too, like “Senior Support Technician – Application”. This will boost the chances that your email gets opened.
There are a variety of situations where it’s appropriate to email a recruiter, and we looked at many of them above with sample emails you can send. To recap, here’s a list of scenarios where you should email a recruiter:
These are far from the only situations where you should send an email to a recruiter, though. So if in doubt, send that email! There’s no harm in trying, and it’s far worse to sit at home worrying and second-guessing yourself.
As for the best time of day to email a recruiter, it’s not worth stressing over. Morning or lunchtime might be best, in my experience, but many recruiters check their email throughout the evening, too. And if not, they’ll see your email first thing in the morning.
So the best time of day to email a recruiter is whenever you’re ready to send your message.
Recruiters can help job seekers get more opportunities, interviews, and job offers. As a recruiter, I’ve even helped people find their dream job when they had no connections or interviews before working with me!
But you need to get a recruiter’s attention first and be direct and professional in your message. That’s the best way to get recruiters to spend their time helping you find a new job.
Use the advice and templates above and you’ll get more responses and more help when sending emails and cold messages to recruiters.
As a final word of advice, make sure you have a professional-sounding email address, too.
And if you’re giving out your phone number in your emails or on your resume, go listen to your voicemail recording to check if it sounds professional. You may have recorded it many years ago and forgotten about it, so it’s worth checking.
More job search resources:
Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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