When Should You Connect with Recruiters on LinkedIn?

The recruitment climate has become predominantly online based over the recent years due to the introduction of new business technology, and social media plays a central role in both job search and sourcing candidates. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter amongst other sites are all commonly used to seek out career opportunities and potential candidates, through scoping out who is hiring and who is on the hunt for a new job; though LinkedIn is probably the most popular social tool for career development, being a principally professional network.

From the job seeker’s perspective, connecting with recruiters and corporate headhunters on LinkedIn can really boost your chances of finding suitable job opportunities, whether you’re actively searching for a new job or just keeping your options open; however it is best to be selective about who you connect with and you want to keep in mind some simple guidelines for communicating with recruiters. Here are some pointers about which recruiters you should connect with on LinkedIn and how to make the most of your network.

Make optimum use of your profile:

Don’t rush into connecting with recruiters until your profile is complete and you have made best use of this opportunity to really sell your skills and experience. Your profile should highlight your previous work experience, achievements and education. Listing your professional skills, both general and industry specific, will help recruiters to pin-point you in their searches for roles you may be suitable for. 

Take advantage of your ‘about me’ section, as it gives you the chance to promote any achievements you are particularly proud of and to build a positive representation of yourself as a person. Including a photograph of yourself on your profile is also beneficial, as people feel more comfortable engaging with somebody when they have and idea of who they are talking to. You may also wish to attach a resume and some examples of your work to support the information on your profile.

Identify your niche:

When you’re on the hunt for a new job, it’s easy to be lured in by a recruiter’s promise to give you a step up in your career, however you should avoid connecting with just any recruiter on LinkedIn. Identify what niche you fit into, what kind of role you think you would be suitable for and how you could help a specific company or department. It will only be of real benefit to connect with recruiters who work in your target industry, who will have a proper understanding of what you are after and will be able to match you up with appropriate opportunities. 

Help them and they will help you:

Working with a recruiter can be a two way street and by helping them, they are more likely to feel inclined to help you in return. Think about how can you make their jobs and their lives easier. If you know someone who may be suitable for a role that they are working on, make recommendations. If you are not adding value to those you connect with, they are not going to remember you or use their network to get you where you want to go.

Grow your network:

Although I advised against connecting with just anyone on LinkedIn, having a big network can only work to your advantage when making connections who are relevant to your career. Once you have completed your profile, connect with as many people as possible who work in your industry or could possibly help you to get where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people, as you never know how your connections may be able to help you or what lending a helping hand could lead to.

RELATED: How NOT to Connect with a Recruiter on LinkedIn