LinkedIn is one more tool available to recruiters and has many positive aspects that differentiate it from other tools such as job boards, company websites or other advertising media. It is however important to remember that people do not join LinkedIn to look for jobs!
Many recruiters use LinkedIn’s InMail to contact potential talent for their opportunities. It is important when using this tool that the recruiter tailors the communication to this specific situation and the person they are contacting does not feel like they are being spammed.
Remember … LinkedIn is different, these are people who are not necessarily looking for a job, unlike people on job boards. SO it is critical that you get their attention. The same tired message to every possible new candidate won’t work … eg. “great job with great company, call me now!” is really going to be just one more email to ignore for most people. Worse yet, you get branded as “that guy (or gal)” and are likely to be ignored forever.
Here are a few thoughts about how you might actually get some traction …
1. Write a compelling subject line.
2. Don’t assume too much … you have no idea if they are open to a new role OR if their current credentials are up to date. Be a little humble.
3. Ask for help. LinkedIn is a community of professionals who like good karma and are willing to help because they know somewhere along the line the favor will be returned. Plant and harvest later or elsewhere. (PS Don’t forget to GIVE more than you get).
4. Identify the connection you have with the person(s) and reference it in the opening lines of your message.
5. Be casual and personable, but not gimmicky.
6. Tell them where, when, and what — the what being the most important thing your organization is trying to achieve with this position. In other words, the key performance objective.
7. Promote your client value proposition or the best one or two things about the company.
8. They don’t want to read a book so only include the relevant detail to appeal enough to their interest in order to create a dialogue.
9. Ask for a brief dialog over email, chat, or an old-fashioned phone call.
10. Ask for referrals if the opportunity is not right for them.
11. Ask for a direct connection and offer to help them in any way at any time. GIVE!
Try to put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving your email, with the realization that they likely get MANY such solicitations every week … why are they going to read yours?